RECORDINGS OF CLASSES
|Teoh Thu 190808||
Sis Angie shares that there is more clarity in her practice. More awareness. Whenever the mind wanders off, she is able to bring it back.
Bro Teoh: The moment you are aware that you are not aware; that is sati. The moment you realise that you are not paying attention, that is attention. Attention of inattention, is attention.
To develop daily mindfulness, we must start by constantly reminding our self of the need to be constantly aware. We must determine to be aware throughout the day (ever-mindful/constantly aware). After developing the daily mindfulness, until it is very stable, our seeing will become very different. It is like suddenly, we can see all the external sense data and our internal mental movements (emotions/mental intentions/etc.) very clearly. It will dawn upon us that before we understand the dharma, all these are habitual heedless thinking borne of our mental stirring caused by avijja. Without wrong views or avijja (ignorant) there will be no mental stirring or reaction to sense experience. Why does one reacts to sense experience? – Because their mind lack wisdom and it is restless due to its inability to understand and accept the realities of the moment for ‘things are just the way they truly are’.
When there is wisdom to accept the reality of the moment (to understand the causes and conditions behind every phenomena), there will be peace within the mind and one can be peaceful from moment to moment (having true ability to make peace with all that transpires) while in the midst of living life.
This is learning to see things as they truly are because ‘people are just the way they are’ (deluded people do deluded things, etc.) and the ‘world is the world’ (when conditions are such things will be such). This is right view.
However, the untrained mind has strong habitual tendencies (borne of habitual reactions to what we see, hear, recall from memory, etc.) when we lack the 5 spiritual faculties. And because of that, their untrained mind becomes agitated and heedless very fast. Ever so quick to form opinions, argue, take sides and fall into the duality trap of right/wrong, good/bad, kind/cruel, clean/dirty, fragrant/foul, pleasant/unpleasant, wholesome/unwholesome etc.
Once we have the stability of Sati, we will have the understanding to see things differently, without the mental reaction and stirring like before. Our mind becomes calmer, more peaceful and quieter. There is more understanding, leading to more equanimity of mind, then there is more joy and happiness in our heart. This is heedful living. No longer easily agitated, panicky, fearful and unhappy, which is heedless living.
Stability of daily mindfulness allows us to understand the form and mind clearly. (How one input the content of consciousness and cause the mundane mind to stir and arise.)
The Mundane mind goes the way of nature, i.e. it is impermanent, it comes and it goes, arises and passes away. If we are deluded, it has power over us. It can conditions us to stir/react to sense experiences and create the evil roots of greed, hatred, delusion (especially selfishness and sakayaditthi or self-delusion).
As long as thoughts are active, the egoic mind borne of wrong view is still there.
The real meditation only starts, when our daily mindfulness has stabilised.
Sis Angie has made some progress but she should continue to stabilise her daily mindfulness. When her daily mindfulness has stabilized, she will be different because by then “everything she do” she will be aware and her awareness will be very stable. It’s like, the phenomenon and her awareness moves as one. This is specific-phenomena awareness. With this specific-phenomena awareness, the mind no longer interferes (with its views, opinions, memories and conditioning). Should you choose to understand what it is, you may perceive it through the memory lens, then it stops (no further proliferation of thoughts and emotions, etc.)
Having a good religious routine is crucial, to cultivate daily mindfulness, throughout the day.
As a revision, the class did a review of their previous Thursday’s 1 August 2019 outline short notes.
With the daily mindfulness, one become more aware and more attentive. There is also more clarity and the mind is more sensitive. Then through constant contemplation and reflection the 2nd turning wisdom of cintamaya panna will arise. This is followed by the direct seeing, then the wisdom (bhavanamaya panna) that arise is no longer just at the knowledge and contemplative level, but at a more penetrative insight level.
When mindfulness stabilized, the awareness within becomes so sensitive that even the slightest movement within, before the “like/dislike” arises, can be clearly felt. We can feel that the stirring is about to begin. And since we have contemplated deep enough to know that this stirring will lead to suffering, then the initial wisdom (yoniso manasikara) already developed will prompt us, at the moment of sense experience, to cause the mundane mind not to stir like before. With yoniso manasikara, avijja becomes attenuated/weakened, hence weakening sankhara
With that understanding, we can develop sense restraint, leading to more calmness, and less sankhara (or stirring of mind). Being more present and aware, the space between thoughts start to lengthen, resulting in more peace, clarity, stillness and tranquillity of mind.
The meditative mind must be a “free mind” which is silent, collected and unwavering (in Samadhi) but not in concentration so that the mental hindrances are not suppressed. So that it can see things as they are clearly to develop the wisdom via the direct seeing.
Cultivation following the 10 steps of the Avijja sutta’s enlightenment sequence was re emphasis by Bro Teoh.
Reading the “PAEON OF JOY” (recited by the Buddha after his enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree) from page 11 of our Chanting book.
UDĀNA GĀTHĀ PAEON OF JOY
Aneka jāti saṃsāraṃ, Sandhāvissaṃ anibbisaṃ, Gaha kārakaṃ gavesanto, dukkhā jāti punappunaṃ, Gaha kāraka diṭṭhosi puna gehaṃ na kāhasi, Sabbā te phāsukā bhaggā gaha kūtaṃ visaṅkhitaṃ, Visaṅkhāra gataṃ cittaṃ taṇhānaṃ khaya majjhagā ti
Through many a birth I wandered in this saṃsāra (endless cycle of births and deaths), seeking but not finding, the builder of the house. Sorrowful is repeated birth. O house builder! You are seen. You shall build no house again. All your rafters are broken. Your ridge-pole is shattered. My mind has attained the unconditioned. Achieved is the end of craving.
Reading of “Pancasatavipassakabhikkhu Vatthu” from Dhammapada Verse 170:
Yatha pubbulakam passe, yatha passe maracikam, evam lokam avekkhantam, maccuraja na passati.
If a man looks at the world (i.e., the five khandhas) in the same way as one looks at a bubble or a mirage forming during a heavy rain, the King of Death will not find him.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)
|Teoh Thu 190801||
Brother Teoh went through last Thursday’s outline short notes.
Bro Teoh reminded kalyanamittas that the silent mind (which is the true mind) is the meditative mind. You just need to relax, aware and maintain awareness for as long as possible, and trust your nature to do the meditation.
Don’t use your thinking mind to try to know. Even when thoughts arise, you just let everything be. Any sense door contact of the mind, just be aware. Otherwise, upon contact, ignorance would condition the 12 links (dependent origination) and the chain of sankhara thinking activities will follow suit.
It is important to train the mind until mind enters sati, then stabilize it to realize passaddhi by not trying to know while in meditation. When you are out from meditation, you can use the stability of mindfulness to cultivate the daily mindfulness and to develop the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom of suttamaya panna and cintamaya panna leading to the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara).
When you ‘want’ to enter the meditative state, that ‘wanting’ is actually a craving within the mind.
Brother Teoh advised kalyanamittas to have strong faith and to determine to be ever mindful. This determination is essential for the cultivation of the daily mindfulness and the initial wisdom. To be constantly meditative and ever mindful in the midst of our daily activities is vital as heedfulness is the path to the deathless, and the heedful never dies.
Brother Teoh shared his experience regarding his determination to be ever mindful in the early years of his cultivation. After two weeks of continuous mindfulness training (with intention to be ever mindful), the awareness came. He had a good religious’ routine covering continuous daily mindfulness of all movements, actions and activities throughout the day, from the moment he woke up to the moment he slept at night. Later on even when his body goes into the sleeping mode he was still able to maintain clear awareness of all his mundane mind’s subconscious and unconscious mental releases. He was fully aware throughout the night until upon ‘waking up’ from the sleep the next morning and he was aware of the same last thought arising just before he ‘wakes up’ as if he didn’t really sleep. Yes! It was as if he never slept throughout the night, as his awareness was very clear and stable all the while. This is the continuous awareness one needs to develop. That’s why Bro. Teoh said, ‘the 3rd support which is the continuous 24 hours’ mindfulness is possible’.
There is a slight difference in the 4 noble truths stated in the Theravada tradition and the Mahayana tradition. In Theravada, first is dukkha (un satisfactoriness); second is samudaya, (the cause of suffering which is craving); third is nirodha (cessation); fourth is magga (path, the Noble eightfold path). Whereas in Mahayana, the second noble truth is not ‘the cause of suffering is craving’ but changed to ‘accumulation through memory as the cause of suffering’. The accumulation of one’s fear, phobia, scars of memory, insecurity, anxiety and all the other psychological memories are the cause of suffering. Those who experience depression will understand this because they have strong tendencies towards these accumulated mind states (which are wrong thoughts) that conditioned their suffering, misery etc. leading to their depression and suicidal thoughts.
Human beings crave for security leading to a sense of insecurity. This insecurity is inherent in human beings. Insecurity breeds fear. Fear of being born leading to old age, sickness and death; fear of death, fear of losing our job, fear of failure, fear of danger and fear of losing our love ones and wealth (separation), etc. But with dharma in the heart, you just need to have total trust in the dharma. Trust your nature especially your karma nature to take care of you (your life).
Meditate and develop the understanding of life especially what the form and mind is? With dharma, you will know who you are and what you are and you will also understand all the nature’s laws that governs life and existence. With this, you will understand life and you are able to live life well. That is, how to develop the understanding to live a good and successful life. Not only success in the materialistic aspect of life but also in the spiritual aspect of life which is most important. With spiritual understanding of the four noble truths and eightfold noble path, life is beautiful, meaningful, wonderful and complete.
When you continuously cultivate the true dharma, you will have understanding, love, joy, faith and gratitude towards the triple gem, your teachers, your other guides and fellow kalyanamittas. You will also develop all virtues and wholesomeness. You will be able to live a very good and rather meaningful life of joy, peace, tranquility and happiness. No more suffering and no more problems and worries. This is wisdom leading to liberation of mind.
On the other hand, when you do not understand life, there is selfishness, emotions and arrogance in the mind. Everything that you do is for self-benefit only. These unwholesome acts filled with delusion will only create more evil thoughts, further suffering and misery when you cannot get what you want or wish for. Evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion is inherent within this deluded mundane mind. Out of fear, more negative karma is being created. These karmic fruitions cause you to be afflicted and suffer, not able to have peace and joy in life.
It is important to understand, that the ‘doing’ while in meditation is always by the thought and when thoughts are active there is no real meditation. Without thought, there is only this pure awareness, so no fear, worry and anxiety. Instead there is only peace, tranquility, joy, inner awareness and the stillness, which is the meditative state.
When you use thought, use it to arise the appropriate ‘right thought’ to develop wholesomeness, virtues, kindness, respect, gratitude and thus be a blessing to all. These wholesome mental states that you arise will propel you to be on the path to ultimate liberation. Whereas wrong thoughts have greed, hatred and delusion, born of ignorance; they only lead to afflicting negative emotions, and is the total opposite of the noble eightfold path practices.
A kalyanamitta asked Brother Teoh regarding the discussion on taking up jobs deemed unwholesome (wrong livelihood) in their discussion group. Brother Teoh advised (basing on his own understanding) the most important criterion to look at is your mental intention or cetena. Cetena is what causes karma. If your mental intention has the 3 evil roots, it will cause negativity of karma. If your intention is wholesome (e.g. to help people), then it is okay. If it involves improper livelihood, then you have to decide whether taking up this job is conducive for your cultivation or not? Most importantly, is your own understanding of the dharma and your ability to notice your own defilements is what matters.
For example, taking vegetarian. Some say being vegetarian shows a more compassionate heart. Some argue that this is not necessary. Eventually, it all boils down to the level of your own understanding of whether to be vegetarian or not. To what extent you are able to notice your own defilements (especially the gross ones) when they arise is most important. This immediate cultivation is essential. If even the gross defilements also you are unable to handle, then there is not much meaning to go to that level of compassion as going vegetarian. Always understand the mental intention behind all that you do. It is not ‘one size fits all’ and you must act with understanding. Never violate the nature’s law of karma or certain important society’s law as they can lead to negative karmic consequences. Acting just to impress others that you are outwardly more compassionate or spiritual is of not much value because this is form dharma, not mind dharma.
The Buddha’s teaching of keeping precepts is for training the mind in mindfulness. For example, the first precept, ‘I undertake the training rule to refrain from taking the life of any living creatures’ is for you to develop your mindfulness and take this precept seriously because it is a training rule and you have to exercise sense restraint. You can also further investigate into it, put it to test, and establish a deep understanding, as to why this precept is being introduced by the Buddha. Who kill? What type of person will violate this precept? A selfish, deluded and violent person who has the evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion. This imply the breaking of this precept leads to major evil karmic consequences following dhammapada verse 1.
When you can keep precepts well and are ever mindful in your daily life, you will have a deeper understanding of the essential dharma and thus you will have the wisdom to choose the right job with the right livelihood. In the case of working as sale personnel for a Sport Toto outlet (as per your group’s discussion), my personally advice is – no problem because it is a legal entity approved by the government and it is a proper listed company. [But please don’t quote me (unless you have the understanding) because this topic can be sensitive.]
In this particular case, your mental intention is sincere and simple because it is an honorable sale job with an established company of legal status. Sport Toto had also done a lot of wholesome corporate social responsibility and activities. If after taking up the job, then you think a ‘wrong thought’ which makes you remorseful, then you are creating your own un necessary mental suffering (worrying, etc.) via your wrong thoughts.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sister Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190725||
For meditators whose spiritual faculties are quite developed, meditation is relatively easy because technically they do not need to train their mind, they can straight away relax body and mind, silent their mind and allow whatever thinking or thoughts (if any) to slow down on their own, then the silent meditative mind will arise. Relax into whatever mind states that arise. Remember the first 3 supports – relax, aware and maintain awareness for as long as you can (no matter what happens). Just be aware of any tactile feeling or sensation that arise. When one becomes more skilful, one will be able to be aware of our subtle breathing (or whatever object of meditation used). Finally, the awareness will drop to the heart area. Just silent everything and feel or maintain awareness. Don’t do anything else. Just aware, aware and aware…. And no more thoughts proliferation.
The 4 supports for awareness base meditation are: 1st support – relax, 2nd support – aware, 3rd support – 24-hour continuous awareness to be maintain for as long as you can, finally when you can detect the gateway to your true nature, just let nature do the meditation via the 4th support – trust, with no interference from the thought. If you don’t use the mind, it will silent very fast. Your true nature, which is just aware will surface. Stay with the awareness, stabilize it. It has the ability to understand many things. Use this silent mind to develop wisdom and understanding.
Without awareness one cannot be mindful and heedful. Only through a stable sati, can the mind become collected and unwavering, quiet and peaceful. Then the meditation will happen by itself.
The important point of understanding is, you can use any object of meditation (as a skilful mean) to quieten and still the mind until the mind enters sati, to realize the silent mind which is also your true mind. When sati is stabilized, the mind will enter sati and the more refined sati will arise. With no movement or activity, stay with that silence, to stabilize it until a natural state of free mind in Samadhi borne of understanding arise.
Consciousness is trapped inside the physical form, – so when the sense data and the conscious mind makes contact with the sense bases, the respective sense door consciousness arises. Then through the silent mind, you can understand clearly what the Buddha’s dependent origination teaching is. That is – upon contact what happens, etc.? What is “avijja paccaya sankhara”; you will also see and understand clearly. You can then have a very stable and sensitive mind in sati to observe and develop the wisdom and understanding. Without this stability of mindfulness, you cannot do it.
For meditators who lack the 5 spiritual faculties, they need to train their mind, through mind sweeping method and anapanasati to develop sati first. When sati is developed, the mind will calm down, you will experience piti/spiritual joy/rapture/calmness. Remember to relax into whatever mind state that arise, otherwise one may be led astray to develop absorption and one pointedness concentration meditation. This Relaxation step, is very important (for you to avoid from falling into such concentration). Mind becomes quiet, calm and tranquil when you relax into it. It also frees the body and mind from stress, tension and tightness. The more relax you are, the more refined your meditation will be. The ability to relax is something we must learn. It is very deep, there are many levels and stages of calmness and awareness. When you are in sati and you know how to relax, you can release whatever stress within the form and mind. Actually most of you are not really relaxed! When you are truly relaxed, your mind is a free mind, not holding onto anything, always at peace without the need to do anything and you are most of the time with your true mind, without thought and have no mental movement.
The thoughts come in very fast (when you try to know), so don’t try to know. It will disrupt the tranquillity, the stillness of mind. Just let things be. Whenever contact arises let it be, just aware and don’t let the thought proliferate. That is how you can meditate with understanding to progress along the path of dharma.
First train the mind to develop sati, stabilize it until mind enters sati to realise the stillness and tranquillity of mind leading to passaddhi. When that mind arises, you can use it to meditate and develop a lot of understanding. Your initial wisdom borne of the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom is very important. Without the initial wisdom, it is not easy to develop the meditation.
Sister Tammy shared during meditation, how her mind made comparisons, rejecting or accepting the thoughts. She reflected on her first meditation experience, then later she realised, she had fallen asleep but when she became aware again, her thoughts flashed by quickly. She felt rejuvenated and refreshed after that.
Bro Teoh explained that Tammy felt recuperated because her mind actually rested when she fell asleep. In daily life, if her mindfulness spiritual faculty is not stable, sankhara will arise. Sankhara moves very fast. In puthujjana, it is like non-stop sankhara activities leading to proliferation of thoughts. The untrained mind is heedless and it thinks a lot, so expect this sankhara activities to arise, let it arise, and do not resist it, then your mind can settle down and you can be at peace.
Cultivate mindfulness to tame the heedless thinking (untrained and wild) mind. Train your mind to go beyond mere conceptual (heedless) thinking leading to a mind state of pure, still and undistracted tranquillity and well-being. That is real meditation.
There is an internal conflict created by the mundane mind wanting to be quiet, this wanting is a craving (a mental hindrance) which will prevent you entering the meditative state of inner peace, inner calmness and inner awareness. If you don’t create dislike for this state, the craving and the ill-will will not be there. If no mental hindrance, sati will take over. Meditation will fall into its place.
Most cultivators tend to make this mistake. The mundane mind actively doing things (in the name of meditate). They thought to meditate there must be a meditator. But they never inquire, who is the meditator? The thought is the meditator! And how can the thought meditate? The reason being once the thought is active there is no meditation because this thought’s thinking prevents the cultivator from realizing their silent mind. The gullible thought will also think of thought based methods and techniques to meditate. So thought is actively verbalizing, noting and arising the mental heedless thinking and thought conceptions. This is not meditation. Then it also reacts to sense experience and tactile sensation arising in meditation. When there is pain or numbness, mind becomes restless, agitated and not at peace thereby creating more mental hindrances. So how can you meditate?
The meditation as taught by the Buddha is very simple. It is just heedfulness and to be heedful there are 2 parts: Ever mindful + constantly meditative. So the inquiry should be, ‘Am I training my mind to be mindful leading to heedfulness?
Heedfulness = ever mindful + constantly meditative [constantly cultivating the Noble Eight Fold Path, (N8FP)]. To be ever mindful, you must first develop mindfulness. Then stabilise it, to be ever mindful, only then can you use it to cultivate the N8FP. The outcome of it is heedfulness. This is also the reason why all meditation starts with the training of mind to be mindful, to be aware and not to focus or concentrate the mind.
Dhammapada 21 – Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. The heedful never dies. Whereas heedlessness is the path to the dead and the heedless is as if dead. It means if you are heedless, you don’t stand a chance.
Bro Teoh advised Tammy to understand the meditation taught by the Buddha and to forget about the thoughts telling her this and that and getting herself involved in thought based verbalisation and activities. Don’t fight or suppress these mental hindrances, they arise because you lack the 5 opposite spiritual faculties. So train your daily mindfulness and spiritual faculties till they are very stable, then one becomes heedful and the mental hindrances will naturally cease to be on its own and meditation will be easy because no more mental hindrances.
Most people don’t have the resolve and ability to train their mind to develop the continuous daily mindfulness to become ever mindful because it is not easy to do that. Unless you are the serious type, who constantly listen to the Dharma and determined to be ever mindful. Then constantly reflect, contemplate and inquiry into the dharma to arise the initial wisdom. With the initial wisdom developed, when you are in the formal sitting meditation or daily mindfulness training, your mind will settle down into stillness very fast. Spiritual faculties together with daily mindfulness training will also make you less heedless leading to more heedfulness while living life.
When you are less heedless, you are most of the time aware and you can go into the meditative state straight away and easily. Sati will take over. In order to do that you must not have any mental hindrance borne of the initial wisdom. Otherwise, mental hindrances will hinder your mind. So if you have problem in life while confronting the 1st Noble Truth realities, it means you do not have the Dharma, then fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation will make you miserable. You cannot settle down and you cannot meditate. Don’t fight, control or suppress the mental hindrances. Just relax. Let them be. Understand that the untrained mind is heedless. Without spiritual faculties, it will think. When I let it be, I don’t develop desire or ill-will towards such sense experiences, then my mind can be at peace. When you understand this, you will progress because you will come to clearly understand that the purpose of meditation is just to develop heedfulness. Then you are home.
J Krishnanmurti expressed heedlessness differently. He uses the words, “Your life is in disorder. Your mind is confusing and chaotic because there is no order.” It is like our society, when it is in disorder; it is chaotic with lots of problems because there is no rule of law.
Heedless living (without the sila) is karmically very negative. Therefore, you cannot develop the meditation. This understanding must be very clear before you can meditate.
Bro Teoh advised Tammy not to worry about the background thoughts during her sitting meditation. Just let it be and to reflect on the meaning of meditation until it is very clear. What is it that I must do to develop the meditation? Heedfulness! Right? So starts from there.
Bro Teoh explained to Tammy on the how to deal with disturbing thoughts, wanting her to deal with some of the 1st Noble Truth realities. Talk to the thought to give her the space to meditate and not to disturb or hurry her during meditation and in return promise the thought, to deal with the situations later (after the meditation).
1st Noble Truth realties: the 8 conditions that are common to all living beings. Without wisdom, when confronting them, one will be entangled and suffering will arise. Worry and fear will not solve your problem. Worry is associated with fear and anxiety leading to sorrow and lamentation. This is how living being suffers. Then they slip into depression and develop suicidal thoughts. Actually it is just mere thought! The thought is never you! How come the thought has such power over you? Why allow the thought to have such power to make you so miserable? Because through ignorance you think the wrong thought. When you have the wrong thought it conditions your fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation, insecurity and scars of memories. That’s how one got entangled and suffered. Reflect and contemplate until very, very clear especially when face with 1st Noble Truth realities. Inquire: What actual happen? What are my options and how can I resolve it amicably and how can I come out of it?
Most common 1st Noble Truth realities are: 1) Death, 2) Disease 3) Relationship problems and 4) Financial problems. The 4th one, financial problem is the easiest to resolve.
If karmically related, ask for forgiveness, repent and invoke the power of merits for turn around. Don’t panic and react. Resolve it amicably through understanding. Apply N8FP: right view leading to right thought, right speech and right actions. To resolve karmic issues, acknowledge with right view in respect to Law of Karma. In the past, you must have done certain things to certain people to entangle yourself karmically. This kammic fruition now arises. You must not get angry, fearful and react and be miserable because they will not solve your problem, instead they make you worst. You can avoid being afflicted, if you have the dharma, the wisdom and understanding. If you can accept this 1st noble truth realities and then act with wisdom, according to understanding following N8FP then you can resolve your problem amicably. With right view, I can accept what happened, because this is a common reality. Therefore, I do not panic; I do not develop the fear, the anxiety, sorrow, and lamentation. No more wrong thoughts and I am calmness. I have clarity of mind to inquire, what is my problem? Try to understand what actually happened. Write them down. How can I resolve it amicably in order to move on? I only have to make a decision. E.g. cut loss or declare bankruptcy etc.
Bro Teoh advised Tammy to forget about her restless mind and her thought dealing with another thought telling her what to do next, should I do Anapanasati etc. It is more important for her to understand what meditation is. Train the mind to be mindful and heedful. Learn to be mindful in the midst of life, start daily mindfulness from home, then to office (career activities) and back to home. Make it into a good religious’ routine.
A sister shared an effective method on how she forgives her disturbing thoughts and became a better person later. Bro Teoh explained that when you forgive others or yourself, you free yourself. Because you no longer dislike or hate the person, there is no more aversion, no more reactive emotions like before. The evil roots are gone. Indirectly, it will make you happy and transform you. If you can forgive your wrong thoughts and other people you will become a better person.
Tammy reported her restlessness, her wanting to escape and her thoughts trying to rectify this and that. Bro Teoh explained, not to fight the mental aversion/hindrance. Fighting gives the mental hindrance power. Just relax, accept the fact that the untrained mind is heedless.
Bro Teoh shared his early day’s religious routine cultivation and his daily mindfulness and awareness in daily life activities cultivation. Aware of all actions and moments in the present moment. His advice is to write down a daily list of things to do, to avoid having to remember them. Prioritise important matter first and handle it immediately, properly and mindfully.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by sister Poh Cheng)
|Teoh Thu 190718||
One does not need to note or verbalize during meditation because the noting and verbalizing is always by the thoughts which is just thinking. Instead meditation is to let the mind settle down on its own until there is no thought. Just relax and maintain awareness to be at peace with the moment with understanding.
Regarding saliva accumulation, Brother Teoh answered that saliva accumulation is quite common for beginners. Just be aware. You can either mindfully swallow it, or you can go to the wash room and spit it off. If you choose the latter, then mindfully arise from your sitting and head towards the washroom to clear it. However, if you are relax during meditation, the saliva will not accumulate. You normally tend to be thirsty and you may need a drink after the meditation.
Most people experience pain during meditation. Just be aware. Do not create any labels of pain which only cause aversion towards the pain thus giving rise to mental hindrance. When you give meaning to such a sensation, there is dislike, or when you experience joy you are drawn into that peaceful state of mind, this is sensual desire. Both likes and dislikes, sensual desire and ill will are mental hindrance which prevent you from entering the meditative state of inner peace, awareness and calmness.
Nimita arises when the mind is calm. The calming of Sankhara can give rise to a nimita formation. It is nothing but just a mind state. It could appear as light or other images. Some are drawn to this nimita and if one focuses on it, could lead to jhana concentration. But this is not important because the main purpose of meditation is to develop wisdom to free our mind. Without understanding, one would crave for it and get trapped in it. Instead, one should relax into it and understanding that all these are conditioned states and it comes and goes, hence impermanent.
Brother Teoh shared his experience back then where his nimita appeared as a violet light. It was effervescent and vibrant. But he just relax into it, and let the nimitta moves on its own without any interference from the thought. With continuous mindfulness via anapanasati his mind was in a state of calmness and deep absorption. This state of extreme calm is a conditioned stated in samatha meditation.
Always remember that the main purpose of meditation is to develop wisdom and awakening, root out self- delusion and defilements. Not to seek a thing but to silent the mind to awaken to the 3 universal characteristics of nature i.e. impermanence, suffering state, and non-self (Anicca, dukkha and anatta). When you experience the samatha or absorption calmness through nimita, you must not get attached to those experience. This attachment can cause your ego to be stronger, thinking it is ‘I’ who has gained this special ability.
This is a conditioned world. All things are condition arising and dependent originating; depending on conditions they arise and depending on conditions they sustain themselves and finally cease when condition cease to be. Therefore everything is in a state of flux. When the conditions arise phenomena arise and when condition ceases, phenomena ceases too. Thus there is this birth and death, the coming and the going, the arising and disappearing of phenomena, etc. Nothing is ever static. Even good mind states in meditation cannot remain forever the same. All pleasurable mind states are a prelude to suffering if you attach to them.
Kasina meditation is a form of concentration meditation whereby one focuses or concentrate on an object of meditation called kasina during meditation. There are 10 types of kasina, namely: 6 types of light kasina, water, earth, wind and fire kasina. There are 40 types of samatha/concentration objects of meditation. It is risky to practice this sort of meditation without a proper teacher. But if the image does appear due to past cultivation, then it is okay. Just know that if you focus on it, you can develop jhana and enter jhanic states. One can also enter jhana absorption through cultivating continuous mindfulness.
There are 3 types of samadhi:
If you have cultivated appana samadhi from the past, chances are you will experience this appana samadhi again. To develop wisdom (instead of psychic ability), you have to release the appana samadhi back to normal awareness and cultivate daily mindfulness. You must not go beyond upacara samadhi because appana samadhi is not conducive for developing wisdom and vipassana insight. Only when mind is collected and unwavering in upacara samadhi while in the midst of life, can see things as they are to awaken. At the moment of sense experience, the mind will not stir because it is collected and unwavering. You can see the 12 links of dependent origination clearly because you are aware. When wisdom and understanding arise, your mind will be transformed. The 1st and 2nd turning wisdom borne of listening to the dhamma and reflecting, will enable you to straighten your views to see things as they are based on understanding. After wisdom has arisen, you don’t have to depend on Samadhi anymore. That is why in the 7 factors of enlightenment, Samadhi comes in at number 6 and upekkha – which is equanimity borne of wisdom (not equanimity from jhana which is a conditioned state) comes in at number 7.
Samatha meditation could deceive one to belief that one is enlightened but in truth one is not because Samatha meditation is merely a conditioned state of mind borne of concentration and not an insight. E.g. Devadatta during the life of Buddha developed psychic abilities but he had greed and self-delusion, so he lost his psychic ability. Psychic powers if use wrongly will have karmic repercussions but if one uses it to help others, then it brings good kamma.
The Buddha said, “This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the four foundations of mindfulness”. So daily mindfulness with clear comprehension is of utmost importance because we need a very stable Daily mindfulness to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness i.e. Kayanupassana, vedananupassana, cittanupassana and dhammanupassana to awaken.
In the first jhana, the 5 jhanic factors of vitaka, vicara, piti, sukha and ekagata are there. Initial application of thought (vitakka) and sustained thought (vicara) are still there, even though one is not actively thinking. One experiences joy (piti), happiness or bliss (sukha) and one pointedness (ekaggata) of mind. In the second jhana, one relinquishes vitaka and vicara and holds on to piti as the meditation object. In the third jhana, piti fades away, one uses sukha as object of meditation. Then one enters one-pointedness of mind i.e. the 4th jhana with equanimity as the object of meditation. Thereafter, one enters the formless jhana realm of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness and the realm of neither perception nor non-perception, which is the 8th jhana. In this realm one can live for as long as 84,000 aeons or world cycles, resulting in one thinking one has reached the ultimate state of salvation.
Through listening, if you have your past cultivation, you can become enlighten. Like the 5 Ascetic disciples of Buddha who became arahant after Buddha expounded the anattalakkhana sutta.
In formal meditation, you must train your mind until it is able to enter sati, only then can there be daily mindfulness in daily life with all the 6 sense bases fully engaged. Your duties and responsibilities demand full engagement of your 6 sense bases involving your hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, tactile feeling and thought consciousness. Every moment of your hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, etc. is in sati. There is specific phenomena awareness and spacious awareness without a center when you meditate.
By listening to the dhamma and reflecting upon it, yonisomanasikara (the initial wisdom) is developed. With this wisdom, sati is stabilized as per the Avijja Sutta. With right view, at every moment of sense experience, your mind will not stirred, because you can accept things as they are, knowing they are all condition arising phenomena hence not real. You are at peace. There is less mental hindrances and more space between thought. This can happen because the initial wisdom weakens avijja (ignorance) and with avijja weakened sankhara also weakened leading to more moments of mindfulness and clarity of mind to see clearly.
You need to maintain the cultivation by having a good religious routine and not be complacent.
(The above short notes was done by Sister Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190711||
What is the difference between consciousness and awareness? Sister Eng Bee shared that when one is conscious of life it does not mean one is also aware of life. Conscious means you can be conscious of what you see, hear, tactilely feel, taste, smell, and think, but one might be heedless. Awareness means being aware from within, aware of whatever that goes on within our form and mind. For those who meditate well, they can go into their sleeping mode and still be aware within while the body rest or sleep.
There are two types of awareness. The first type is the normal specific phenomenon awareness, whereby one is aware of what is going on. Most people are not aware because they are lost in thought most of the time. But when you are aware, you are with the true mind. You are aware of thoughts, content of consciousness, the bodily movements, mental movements and nature’s movements. This is the Specific phenomena awareness, whereby one’s awareness and the phenomena is one or move as one. The other type is the silent spacious awareness without a center (spacious awareness). This awareness becomes one with nature leading to the oneness nature.
Awareness is the same as sati. Sati is the pure awareness before the knowing.
Conscious means when you are not in the sleeping mode. When you wake up, you become conscious; conscious of life itself. You have senses in your body and because of that you can be conscious of what you see, taste, hear, smell, tactilely feel and think. These 6 sense doors give rise to the 6 sense bases. The Mahayana tradition, teaches 9 types of consciousness. In Theravada tradition, there is only one word for consciousness i.e. Vinnana.
There are 3 pali words used to denote mind and they are: mano, citta and vinnana. There are differences among them. Mano is often used in Dhammapada verses 1 & 2: ‘Mind is the forerunner of all things, mind is chief (this mind is mano), mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, ‘dukkha’ will follows him just as the wheel follows the hoof print of the ox that draws the cart’. In 4 foundations of mindfulness (Satipatthana) sutta, there is contemplation of the citta (cittanupassana) i.e. mindfulness of content of consciousness where the word citta is used as meaning the content of consciousness. Whereas in the dependent origination or Paticca samuppada teaching, the 3rd link is sankhara paccaya vinnana followed by Vinnana paccaya namarupa. Here vinnana is the pure consciousness, one of the 4 mind aggregates before the input of the content of consciousness. When the content of consciousness goes in, it becomes namarupa (which is your 5 mental aggregates of form and mind or thought). Hence Citta is your 5 mental aggregates of form and mind, which is your thought.
Initially, ‘in the seeing, there is only the pure seeing consciousness and there is no one to see’. This is your direct seeing, seeing things as they are, before the stirring of mind. But due to ignorance, upon contact of mind with brain the mind will stir. Then through wrong perceptions, views, opinions and conditioning, you input the content of consciousness with the evil roots, thereby creating the karmic consciousness (wholesome and unwholesome). This is acting according to memory.
The first 5 consciousness are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching or tactile consciousness. The 6th consciousness is sanna or perception, connected to the mind which is the common denominator needed for the arising of all these consciousness. When mind perceives, this 6th consciousness arises. The 7th consciousness arise due to the egoic or discriminating mind with its views, opinions, conditioning, belief system, memories, etc. This egoic or discriminative mind creates mental hindrances of likes and dislikes causing the mind to stir constantly while living life. These mental hindrances give rise to habitual tendencies leading to latent tendencies (annusaya). The 7th consciousness creates karmic consequences. As for the 8th consciousness, it is the Alaya consciousness, the store house consciousness of karmic accumulations. It is the result of the 7th consciousness that action as a mental organ. Perception brings the external form or sense data into mind. So upon contact of this external sense data with the mind, and the mental organ (7th consciousness), the mind consciousness (which is the 8th consciousness) arise.
When you have stability of mindfulness, you can be at the moment of contact, feeling and perception, activity of mind, consciousness, or content input. You can see them clearly. Human beings normally act according to their memories. But with dhamma understanding, one acts according to wisdom and understanding borne of the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom (Yonisomanasikara). Right views are important. Wrong thoughts make one miserable. After straightening one’s view, you can then act according to understanding and wisdom following the noble eightfold path.
Understanding Karma niyama, Citta niyama and dhamma niyama (the 3 important spiritual laws) are needed for the arising of right views and understanding.
For the Ariya, there is no more discriminative mind, their aggregates of mind are non-grasping. There is no more egoic mind to cling anymore. Due to awareness and wisdom, one can input pure content of consciousness.
Dhammapada verse 21: Heedfulness is the path to the deathless; heedlessness is the path to the dead. The heedful do not die whilst the heedless are as if dead. Dhammapada verse 23: The constantly meditative and ever mindful, he or she will realize the supreme born free enlightenment (Nibbana).
In the Avijja sutta, there are 10 steps leading to liberation and step 1: is to have dhamma friends to cultivate together. Dhamma friends who can guide, counsel, motivate, encourage and help show you the way. Great beings’ natures (those of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas) are true great dhamma friends. This is followed by step 2: listening to the true dhamma. Step 3: having faith in the triple gem. Step 4: initial wisdom and wise attention at the moment of sense experience, Step 5: sati sampajanna (Mndfulness and clear comprehension). Step 6: is sense restraint and Step 7: is the 3 ways of good conduct. Step 8: Cultivating the 4 foundations of mindfulness can then be cultivated with ease, giving rise to Step 9: the 7 factors of enlightenment keep arising. You then know you are on the right path. Step 10: Enlightenment in the here and the now.
After listening to the dhamma, you should inquire, reflect and contemplate into the 3 turnings of the 4 noble truths. When you contemplate, and you see the dhamma stands up to investigation, there is strong faith in the Buddha and his teaching. You stabilize your understanding and assimilate this understanding into your nature. Yoniso manasikara comes about from the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom. This understanding will surface when you confront sense experience and face death. This understanding liberates you. With this yoniso manasikara, you become less reactive, your mind stir less, have more equanimity, more at peace with whatever arises, more moments of silence and awareness and more space between thoughts.
The 5 daily contemplations are very important. Our body is of the nature to grow old, fall sick, and die; separation from loved ones and priced possession when conditions cease to be. Finally, we are born of our karma, the owner of our actions, heir to our karma, condition and supported by our karma and we are what we are because of our karma.
Anicca, dukkha and anatta are the 3 universal characteristics of nature, inherent in all component things (phenomena). With this right understanding, you can confront any issues in life with wisdom, understanding and compassion. You need mindfulness and wisdom or wise attention at the moment of sense experience. The initial wisdom that you had cultivated will prompts you to act following noble eightfold path, with right view etc.
Original mind is tranquil and just aware. All the negative emotions and sankhara mind states are not intrinsic within. When the sensual desires etc. arise, silent your mind and your mundane thinking mind will slowly settle down on its own through knowing that they are all condition arising phenomena. Thus just silent your mind and be with it, then all these emotions borne of wrong thoughts will slow down and you will realize your silent, true mind with awareness within. No more agitation, but only tranquility and stillness. With this, you will be able to witness how the arisen mental hindrance cease to be. You can then meditate on mindfulness of the 6 internal sense bases and the 6 external sense bases to trace the origination factors and retrospectively reverse it. With this, you will know how the un-arisen mental hindrance of sensual desire come to be. It comes through the senses e.g. hear, see or recall something that triggered it. Then you know how to free your mind. With this wisdom and right view, you will also come to know how in the future this mental hindrances will not arise anymore. This is part of the satipatthana dhammanupassana cultivation.
Be mindful of the mental hindrances that arise. Be mindful of the 5 aggregates of form and mind. With sati sampajanna, at the moment of sense experience, mindfulness is so stable that you can be at the moment of contact even before the content of consciousness (borne of mental stirring) is input. Without wisdom, upon contact, feeling will arise to condition craving. Wisdom (yonisomanasikara) is vital for feeling to remain as pure feeling. Then it is only pure feeling and would not go towards craving. With mindfulness of the internal 6 and 6 external sense bases, you will come to know how fear, anger, restlessness, sensual desire, ill will, doubt, etc. arise. These mind states will all cease when you just stay with it.
With wisdom, there is no more egoic mind. Sankhara becomes pure aggregate. The 8th consciousness becomes pure consciousness, free of the 3 evil roots of greed hatred delusion. Thus the reason why Arahant don’t have rebirth consciousness. All are recorded in your karmic nature. Thus Buddha says, ‘you are born, heir to your karma, conditioned and supported by your karma and you are what you are because of your karma’. You need to take care of karma as your life depends entirely on it.
The 9th consciousness is Nibbana (your true nature, your Buddha nature and the unconditioned).
The pure wisdom energy is so fine that the mundane mind will eventually collapse and then the supra mundane mind from within will shines forth. No more mundane mind’s gross sankhara to obscure the true mind. This 9th consciousness can also be the mind that has no dwelling. Mindfulness become automatic and the 3 universal characteristics of nature is clearly seen at all time while in the midst of life. For those who sees, they will always see this truth.
Brother Teoh encourages kalyanamitta to listen to the audio files and watch the video on the website (broteoh.com) for a clearer comprehension. Also to read the transcripts and constantly reflect upon them.
(Above draft short notes prepared by Sister Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190704||
Cultivators need to develop the 5 spiritual faculties of Saddha, viriya, sati, samadhi and panna to enable them to understand the spiritual teaching. Faith in the triple gem through understanding how special and unique the Buddha is, is very important. He is not only enlightened, he is fully enlightened, perfect (foremost) in wisdom and virtues, thus he understands life completely. One is also grateful for his teaching because it can bring about enlightenment in the here and the now. One will then have the spiritual zeal (viriya) to learn and cultivate his teaching to liberate one’s mind from the samsara. This viriya will drives you to cultivate mindfulness (sati) which in turn will helps you understand clearly all the essential dhamma. Without sati, you cannot meditate nor understand the profound teaching, for Sati is life. Without sati, one is heedless and the heedless are as if dead. (Dhammapada verse 21: Heedfulness is the path to the deathless; Heedlessness is the path to the dead. The heedful do not die; the heedless are as if dead).
There are two parts to heedfulness i.e. constantly meditative and ever mindful as per dhammapada verse 23. (Dhammapada verse 23: The constantly meditative, the ever mindful and the steadfast one realizes the bond free Nibbana). First we develop mindfulness then stabilize it until it is ever mindful. One can stabilize one’s mindfulness by anchoring it to a meditation object (e.g. anapanasati or sati sampajanna or mindfulness of the 4 postures, etc.) When you can be ever mindful in the midst of life, you can start to cultivate the noble eightfold path. You need to stabilize this sati, until the mind enters passaddhi (tranquility and stillness of mind). This is the true mind, the silent mind. Only such a mind can make you ever mindful in life.
When passaddhi is stabilized it leads to Samadhi (the unwavering and collected mind) in midst of life. When mind is in Samadhi, the mind does not stir nor react to sense experience as before. You are then able to see things as they are, thereby arising wisdom (panna) needed to straighten your views leading to more and more right views. All meditation starts with right view.
Most people cannot meditate because they have not trained their mind to develop the 5 spiritual faculties. Without the 5 spiritual faculties the opposite 5 mental hindrances (which hinder them from entering the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness) will be there. Without the spiritual faculties, the mental hindrances takes over and you tend to think a lot and become heedless. Restlessness of mind borne of fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentations are among them the most powerful hindrance. When you experience a sense experience, you tend to react to sense experience, giving rise to likes and dislikes, sensual desires and ill will, thus mental hindrances become so rampant until they become habitual tendencies leading to latent tendencies (anusaya), kilesa and asava (strong defilements ever ready to erupt and cause you misery). These asava and kilesa run rampant in deluded beings. Reason why these people without the spiritual faculties need methods and techniques or object of meditation to anchor the mind so that it is not heedlessly loss in thoughts. If the methods and techniques are not awareness based then it may lead to concentration or Samatha bhavana.
Those who have mental hindrances can still meditate, but they need to use some skilful means to keep the mental hindrances temporarily at bay. E.g. through using the mind sweeping method combining with metta. For more details to refer to the transcript blue book on meditation by Bro Teoh dated 12 September 2013.
Road map to understanding the Buddha’s teaching.
Vipassana meditation: ‘Vi’ stands for the 3 universal characteristics of nature – anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (non-self or empty nature). These 3 universal characteristics is inherent in all phenomena and is everywhere in midst of life and nature. ‘Pasana’ means to insight into. Thus vipassana means to insight into the 3 universal characteristics of nature. Vipassana cannot be practiced because it not a knowledge. Instead it is an awakening borne of the direct seeing or an insight through the silent mind leading to penetrative wisdom to awaken to the 3 universal characteristics of nature.
There are 3 phases or stages to cultivate the Buddha’s teaching:
Pariyatti: the Buddha has cultivated for almost 4 worlds cycles to perfect himself to be the fully enlightened one, a Samasambuddha with perfect virtues and wisdom. We must therefore have great respect and gratitude towards the Buddha. Because of that the Buddha was able to summarize all his understanding into just the 4 noble truths. Noble truths are truths that can make you noble ones or enlightened ones. Enlightened ones have noble qualities as stated in the noble eightfold path. The enlightened ones have right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, the 4 right efforts, right sati and right Samadhi.
These 4 noble truths are the essence of Buddha’s teaching. It summarizes to us all of the mundane and supra mundane aspects of life. It is like telling us the secret of life. Understanding these 4 Noble Truths will lead us to deeply understand life. It can also lead to awakening or enlightenment in the here and the now. The 1st Noble truth explains to us the prevalence of suffering (dukkha) and the realities of life and existence. The 8 realities that can condition suffering are birth, old age, sickness and death, separation from loved ones and one’s possessions, when we are with people whom we don’t like, (when our expectations in life are not met, when we cannot get what we want and when things don’t go your way) and finally, in short the 5 grasping aggregates of form and mind are dukkha.
The Buddha meditated and awakened. He realized that the so called human being (the physical body and mind, this 5 aggregates of form and mind) is not a permanent unchanging entity for one to grasp on to as the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’ for it is dependent originating, a condition arising phenomenon hence it is impermanent and it leads to suffering. This 5 aggregates of form and mind is only a karmically conditioned ‘vehicle and tool’ for us to come to this existential world to experience karma, live life and develop the cultivation.
In short it is due to your self-delusion which conditions you to believe, this human being is real. Thus when you cling to these 5 aggregates, you suffer. In the Mahayana tradition, it is said that the 5 aggregates are empty. As a human being, you have a physical body and a mind. Mind has 4 aggregates i.e. feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), mental thinking, activities and states (sankhara) and consciousness (vinanam). We can be conscious of what you hear, see, taste, smell, tactile feeling and think. These makes up a human being. The three conditions that make this being come to life are a functional physical body; a consciousness trapped inside to arise the aggregate of mind and the karmic force or life force from our karmic nature. The karmic force give rise to your heartbeat which is your pulse of life.
The 2nd Noble truth explains the cause of suffering. The main cause is craving, conditioned by self-delusion or ignorance. The 3rd Noble truth says suffering need not be if you have understanding of his teaching, thus able to live the life of an enlightened being, then life is beautiful and meaningful. You will have joy, inner peace, awareness, love and understanding. The 4th Noble truth explains the way out of suffering which is what the meditation is i.e. the noble eightfold path. When you cultivate this Noble 8-Fold Path, it will lead to the end of all suffering.
When you have wisdom borne of this Noble 8-Fold Path cultivation, you will come to realize “hey no you hey no me”. This ‘body and mind’, the so called human being is not ‘you’ but it is subject to karma. The true mind is never born hence it never dies. The phenomenal world of consciousness is unreal and empty hence only leads to suffering when one lack wisdom.
People suffer because they hold and cling. Metaphorically it is like holding on to a red hot burning iron ball, it will burns and torment you. So if you hold on to the so called problem and worry about it, this is stupidity. On the other hand, when you don’t hold, it is not tormenting you, you are at peace (i.e. when you are without fear, worry and anxiety, etc.), then there is clarity to allow you to act with understanding and wisdom. But it does not mean the problem is gone. E.g., financial problem and health problems, which needs wisdom to resolve them. You must first accept them as one of those 8 realities of the 1st Noble truth. You then learn to see things as they are, and develop the wisdom to come to terms with these realities. The one who does not suffer, have the wisdom to deal with it. So don’t deludedly cling on to the wrong thoughts (greed, hatred, delusion) because it will cause you suffering and yet it won’t solve your so called problem. Do what you need to do and explore your best options to resolve things amicably with wisdom and understanding following Noble 8-Fold Path. Learn to love yourself through having right thoughts instead of making yourself miserable through thinking the wrong thoughts. Wrong thoughts are thoughts that condition your fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation etc.
The cause of suffering (2nd noble truth) is attachment and clinging to the form and mind. Whatever that happens in life, you need to accept the reality of the moment with understanding first and not have wrong thoughts to torment yourself. Without fear etc., you can act with wisdom, not according to memory and conditionings. Without right view, due to self-delusion, there is no self-love, thus you stir your mind further with more negativity of thoughts and emotions. This unwholesomeness only leads to more suffering. Instead you need to use the dhamma way to free your mind. With right understanding, love yourself through not creating unnecessary suffering, you realize suffering need not be, suffering is created through your own ignorance that conditions you to cling and worry etc. When you know the cause of suffering you can deal with it via understanding. With this understanding, you can live life with wisdom.
Brother Teoh explained the difference between the heart and the mind. To refer to his early blue transcript book for more details. The heart is where life force resides, it is the seat of consciousness. When it comes, it pumps your heart and then sends the blood to all your organs and nourish them. If destructive karma comes, the body system shuts down, consciousness leaves the form which is dysfunctional (death occur). But in actual fact no one dies. When you meditate, all this will be very clear. You will be able to see the 12 links of the law of dependent origination clearly; how ignorance gives rise to sankhara then mental consciousness, namarupa, etc.
Mind is the forerunner of all things, mind is chief. The phenomenal world of consciousness is impermanent, because it is dependent originating. If you attach to the 5 aggregates, you suffer. As they are impermanent, they are not real, not you, non-self and empty for they are all causal phenomenal. As real as it can be, only in the moment, and split second it is dead and gone. As you meditate, you will awaken to all this.
When you understand the cause of suffering, you can resolve all those so called ‘problem’ caused by the 8 realities of the 1st noble truth. The 3rd Noble truth explains that suffering need not be. Enlightenement in the here and now is possible, cessation of form and mind, nibbana (the supramundane state) can be realized by the wise each for themselves. You can confront death with understanding. You can laugh at the dead.
Even after you have insight into the 3 characteristics of nature, you still need to cultivate the noble eightfold path to bring about the end of suffering. It is of utmost importance to have right views.
(Above draft outline short notes are prepared by Sister Chong Phey Yuen.)
|Teoh Thu 190627||
Sometimes you might feel numbness and painful sensation in our legs due to blockage chi flow. The reason being you are not relax and you lack spiritual faculties.
Brother Teoh reviewed the 4 important supports for awareness based meditation:
The 5 mental hindrances hinder one from entering the meditative state of inner peace and awareness. The first two hindrances are sensual desire and ill will. Upon receiving sense data, and contact on the sense base, it triggers of the mental consciousness of what you hear, tactile feel, think, taste or smell. When you experience any senses experience through your sense door activity, you have the tendency to stir your mind via like or dislike, thus arising the sensual desire and ill will mental hindrances. Duality arises and you are thus lost in thought. You are not with the moment in silent awareness within anymore. These are the hindrances hindering your mind to see clearly. Sloth and torpor, restlessness of mind and doubt are also mental hindrances.
The Buddha said, if you don’t keep your precepts, instead you violate the karmic law of nature, the karmic fruition will come back and haunt you. It will lead to suffering and misery. Restlessness of mind arise if you do not understand his teaching, and don’t discipline yourself to keep the precepts. Wrong thoughts, wrong speech and wrong action are the result and these can cause you to have fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation. All these are suffering mind states. As for those with doubts, they are due to their ignorance and self-delusion, they don’t have faith, and thus they lack self-confidence.
Mental hindrances prevent you from entering the meditative state. But don’t try to do away with the mental hindrances. If you do that it means you have created your dislikes and strong aversion towards that mind state thereby sustaining the arising of the mental hindrance. Instead, cultivate the opposite 5 spiritual faculties of Faith in the triple gem, spiritual zeal, sati, Samadhi and wisdom to overcome them.
With faith, you develop spiritual zeal to cultivate the teaching. You are determined to meditate. Train the mind to have mindfulness (sati) leading to heedfulness, as heedfulness is the path to the deathless. To be heedful, there are two components: ever mindful and constantly meditative (constantly cultivating noble eightfold path). Therefore train your mind to be aware, then stabilize your awareness with anapanasati which can help to keep your mind calm and aware within. Mind sweeping method is helpful for those whose spiritual faculties are still weak. But in daily life, you can’t be doing mind sweeping method at all times, that is why cultivating the 5 spiritual faculties are important.
With the spiritual faculties established, sati is stabilized leading to be Samadhi; your mind is collected and unwavering, in the midst of your daily life. In daily life, your senses are fully engaged. At the moment of seeing, hearing etc., without Samadhi, you will end up stirring your mind. Your likes and dislikes are strong. This will becomes habitual tendencies and latent tendencies. These mental hindrances will hinder you from entering meditative state. Thus you tend to react to sense experiences, following your views and opinions. You are entangled with your accumulated memories of fear, phobias and insecurity. As thoughts are response to memory hence wrong thoughts arise to condition your negative emotions.
Stability of mind in the midst of life, to see things as they are and relate them with the essential dharma you have listened before is important.
It is important to understand clearly what Brother Teoh had taught us. By listening to the dharma/teaching, and correlate them back to your daily mindfulness experiences in life your understanding of the teaching will stabilized. When sati and Samadhi is stable, you can see the truth, not what the mind is telling you. Your mind is full of conditioning, views, opinions and memories, which are not the truth. You should act according to wisdom and understanding, this is true action. When you understand the dharma, you have wisdom.
At the moment of sense experience, take for example at the moment of seeing there is only the seeing consciousness with no one to see as yet. There is no concept, no word, just as it is, with the pure perception, pure awareness which is non-grasping. Reflect, contemplate and inquire into all these in your daily life to stabilize your understanding then assimilate them into your nature to arise the 2nd turning wisdom (cintamaya panna). The 1st turning wisdom borne of listening to the teaching and the 2nd turning wisdom will give rise to yonisomanasikara (the initial wisdom). This initial wisdom can arise the wise attention at the moment of sense experience to enable you to straighten your views and not react to sense experience anymore; there is sense restraint, more moment of awareness because of the understanding, thus less sankhara or mental stirring at the moment of sense experiences. Avijja paccaya sankhara link of the 12 links (law of dependent origination) will be weakened. With this understanding, you will have more clarity of mind, awareness and heedfulness, and you will be no longer heedless or lost in thought while in the midst of life.
Brother Teoh again stressed the importance of the avijja sutta’s 10 steps cultivation. You must meditate until your mind realizes passaddhi and enters sati then when you come out of the formal meditation, everything that you experience via your sense experiences are in sati. All your hearing, seeing, smell, taste, tactile and thought activities will be in sati. You can then awaken via seeing things as they are. This wisdom liberates your mind. The phenomenal world of consciousness cannot deceive you anymore. The universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering state and empty nature of existence become very clear. This teaching can bring about real awakening.
A physics experiment of the switch, light bulb and battery analogy to explain how you become conscious of what you see, hear, smell, taste, tactilely feel and think is very clear and good. If the battery has power, upon contact of the switch, the light bulb lights up. Our Mind and physical senses function the same. Battery is like consciousness which is the source of energy. Light bulb is similar to sense organ (eye, ear, nose, tongue, brain). When sense data comes in, contact is on, conscious mind goes to the organ for example the eye. Thus attention is on what you see. Upon contact, light bulb lights up. You are conscious of what you see. This is nature’s law. In the seeing, there is only the seeing consciousness. But our mundane mind with our belief system and wrong view immediately associate with the seeing, thus we say “I see”. This is self-delusion. If you are aware, you can see this, and you can be at the moment of consciousness before the content goes in. When you think, there is contact with brain to create mental consciousness. You then immediately input the content of consciousness, causing the nama rupa (i.e. the 2nd aspect of the 5 mental form and mind) to arise. When you cling, it becomes grasping aggregates which conditions suffering following the Dependent origination links. There must be sense bases, for contact to arise, then only can the rest of the links come about.
Brother Swee Aun asked: Can Brother Teoh explained the difference and relationship between sati sampajanna and yoniso manasikara.
Brother Teoh replied: these two steps are not related but they complement each other. Sati is daily mindfulness, Sampajanna is clear comprehension. When you have sati, you might not have sampajanna. You need to stabilize mindfulness, before cultivating clear comprehension. There are 4 aspects of clear comprehension: A) Sincerity of purpose, no other ulterior motive in meditation apart from developing wisdom to free the mind. It is not for psychic purposes which can delude the cultivator, causing the egoic mind to be stronger. B) Domain of meditation. The moment you are heedful, you are ever mindful and constantly meditative. Meaning meditation can be done in the midst of life. Cultivation can be practiced anywhere, anytime, in whatever posture and under any circumstances. Hence life itself is the meditation, as long as mindfulness with clear comprehension are there. C) Clear comprehension of suitability. The most suitable time to meditate is now. Do not procrastinate because it can be done in the midst of life. With resolved, faith, sincerity and perseverance, it can be done. In the ‘here and now’ is the best time and place to cultivate and meditate. The most important people are the ones around you whom you can share your understanding with, learn from and be a blessing to; establish relationship with them due to your affinity with them. There must be harmony between man and nature. D) Clear Comprehension of non-delusion. Not deluded by what happens during cultivation. Delusion bought about by the 10 defilements of insights can come and trick you further bringing about complacency. Then you cannot progress. For example, when you can see nimitta or light phenomenon during meditation. When your mind is peaceful, nimitta can arise. You need to relax into it and not get lost/deviate into jhana or psychic. You can experience them but don’t attach to them. When some experience piti and sukham, they become complacent and attach to jhana or their stability of mindfulness.
Yonisomanasikara is a step before you can achieve sati sampajanna and it is the initial wisdom at the moment of sense experience in the midst of life borne of the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom. 1st turning wisdom (suttamaya panna) – developed via listening to true dharma attentively and with faith and sincerity. When you listen to the true dharma sharing constantly, your understanding deepens each and every time, even though the essential dharma are almost similar. When listening, you need to be attentive. For contemplation and reflection you need a creative mind with little thought, not heedless but constantly aware. You are able to listen attentively with understanding. If it is the truth, it stands up to investigation and you will recognize it because it resonates within your nature.
After listening to dharma, you start to stabilize what you have listened. After that, you can assimilate this understanding into your nature. This gives rise to the 2nd turning wisdom. Yonisomanasikara comes about. When 1st and 2nd turning are stabilized, it prepares you to receive truth i.e. the 3rd turning wisdom (bhavanamaya panna). With Sati sampajanna, dharma keeps on unfolding, you keep on understanding the teaching, one day you will awaken to the truth through the 3rd turning wisdom (bhavanamaya panna), borne of the direct seeing and meditative training. This wisdom arises when you cultivate the 4 foundation of mindfulness.
With wisdom developed, your mind hardly stirs as things are just as they are. You can stay attentive and aware most of the time. Understanding of the higher teaching of the Mahayana tradition, will let you understand why the teaching starts with No Thought (the Silent Mind). Develop the 5 spiritual faculties and the rest will fall into place. Diamond sutra’s famous 4 stanza also becomes very clear to you. I.e. ‘Everything is conditioned dharma; they are like dreams, illusions, bubbles and shadows; like a morning dew and a lightning flash, (implies they are all transient); you should contemplate it thus.
The moment you hear truth, silent your mind and you will awaken. You can then see the truth of anicca, dukkha and anatta (impermanence, suffering state, empty nature/non-self) everywhere, in midst of life and nature. The 5 aggregate of form and mind and all phenomena are also such. Truth is everywhere! Why can’t you see? For those who see they always see.
Spiritual faculties become unshakable. You are ever mindful in midst of life. This is true meditation. Stability of daily mindfulness strengthens when you have contemplated, reflected and inquired deep into the dharma that you have awaken to, then you are able to come out to teach and share the dharma with others.
Brother Teoh shared how the conditions unfolding by itself due to his vows and because of that he was able to share the dharma with kalyanamitta this lifetime. This Buddha sasana is the best window of opportunity to cultivate. Nowadays the consciousness is evolving very strongly. Brother Teoh’s nature could sense this since the year 2015. Nowadays the dharma sharing session is so different. So much of the rather important and very complete and penetrative dharma can be shared within the 2 hour plus session because the kalyanamitta’s consciousness has transform and their understanding has deepen, and they can understand. If you are new and you don’t have any conditioning, you can absorb like a sponge. With faith, you will progress and your nature will transform.
Without yonisomanasikara, sati sampajanna cannot come about. There are 3 steps to develop sati sampajanna: The 1st step is to the understanding that this mind without the mental hindrances is naturally mindful or aware already. Therefore cultivate 5 spiritual faculties to overcome the mental hindrances. The 2nd step is to meditate until the mind enters sati after realizing passaddhi. Then stabilize the daily mindfulness. The 3rd step is to introduce the 4 types of clear comprehension into the daily mindfulness.
Our whole existence depends on this dharma understanding. With this understanding, when you come, you will not suffer, you are a beautiful being, a blessing to all and your life is beautiful and meaningful. Plant the seed of Bodhi with great faith and sincerity, then take the bodhisattva vows and follow all the teachings as given by Bro Teoh, then life after life when you come, regardless if there is Buddha sasana or not, your nature will arise, shine forth and become beautiful. You won’t get lost again as you will know how to cultivate life after life. You can also have a beautiful nature later to teach others and share the beautiful dharma with others just like what Brother Teoh is doing now.
Yonisomanasikara – wise attention at moment of sense experience – wisdom will prompt you that things are just the way they are i.e. anicca dukkha anatta, and avijja pacaya sankhara. This is because you have contemplated, reflected and inquired until the understanding is so stable. You will know the form and mind is not real, not ‘I’ and things are not mine, they go the way of nature, subject to law of karma. That is why your mind won’t stir. This initial wisdom will prompt you with the right view and understanding when you encounter a sense experience or a life situation. Your nature has assimilated those understanding, which will enable you to act with wisdom. Form and mind is just a vehicle and a tool for you to come to this existential world so use it well and do not be deceived by it. Thus no more delusion.
(The above draft short notes was prepared by Sister Angie Chong Phey Yuen.)
|Teoh Thu 190620||
The video recording was very good and very clear. It gives clear and detail instructions on how to develop the meditation as taught by the Buddha. Please do view it attentively at the following link: https://youtu.be/UBbLaxUT7uk
Sister Angie shared her thoughts: the meditative calm and inner peace she experienced is very useful in helping her live her daily life.
Brother Teoh reminded all cultivators that in meditation, the relax step is key. When you cannot relax, you cannot be peaceful. Relaxation frees one’s body and mind from worries and stress. Relax into every mind state that arises. Your mind can then settle down and be calm and peaceful. Wherever there is tension, tightness and stress within, you relax into it using the mind sweeping method. You feel and relax into every part of the body.
When you concentrate or focus, there is energy build up. Thus relaxation is vital. There will be problem when you don’t know how to deal with the energy build up caused by focusing and yin yang imbalance. When you develop meditative calmness, you may see nimitta. As you focus you can get lost in it. But when you relax into it, you are aware, this is more balanced. The free mind in a natural state of relax awareness is the silent (meditative) mind which understands. This state arises when there is no mental hindrances. Mental hindrances cease when the opposite 5 spiritual faculties are established.
Anusaya are mind’s latent tendencies and Asava are mental defilements and they make the mind evil and heedless. As long as self-delusion is not rooted out, defilements will be there. This gives rise to mental hindrances which become habitual tendencies leading to anusaya i.e. you react automatically/immediately.
When their mind cannot be peaceful, they come out with methods and techniques of meditation to suppress and control their thinking mind. Not knowing that their lack of peace is due to their 5 mental hindrances that hinder the mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace, calm and inner awareness. The 5 mental hindrances are: sensual desire, ill will, sloth torpor, restlessness of mind and doubt.
You meditate not by controlling thoughts, but meditate with mindfulness to develop wisdom and understanding for your mind to settle down. The important supports for meditation are: relaxation and being naturally aware.
When you dislike something, you are lost in that sense experience. Inner mental chattering borne of your discriminative views starts. If you are aware, you can see how your mind oscillates between like and dislike very fast. If you are not aware, the proliferation of thoughts will get worst. Mental hindrance of fear, worry and anxiety leading to restlessness of mind will cause further stress. Also when you are confronted with the 8 realities of the 1st noble truth, you will perceive them with negativity. Without right view, you don’t know how to act with wisdom. Therefore fear, worry and anxiety arise leading to sorrow, lamentation and depression.
When you lack spiritual zeal, sloth and torpor sets in. You will feel sleepy when meditating and listening to dharma. If this arises, you just accept it as a reality. Maintain awareness and be with this sloth and torpor. Relax and stay with it. When you don’t react, there is no mental hindrances. Sati will takes over. That is, if there is no dislike towards that sleepy mind state, a shift of consciousness can happen. When sati and viriya take over it will induce a surge of energy to cause the lethargic mind to shifts into brightness. Reason why, Mindfulness or sati is vital.
When you are mindful you are aware and sensitive. Any movement away from the state of peace and tranquility, your form and mind will know. It is due to ignorance that conditions you to stir your mind causing you to cling onto the phenomena world of consciousness via your accumulated wrong views, opinions and memories, etc.
It is important to straighten one’s views and develop the meditative mind to insight into phenomena to awaken and understand profoundly. Initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) comes from hearing the true dharma plus mindful reflection, contemplation and inquiry to arise the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom. This will enable you to develop sati sampajanna (mindfulness and clear comprehension) as per the avijja sutta’s 10 steps cultivation.
With sati Sampajanna, you will have sense restraint. You are able to keep your precepts. This will lead you to have the 3 ways of right conduct (i.e. right thought, speech and action). With this ability, you would have realized at least the first or second stage of sainthood. The 3rd turning wisdom of Bhavanamaya panna (wisdom borne of the meditative training) is not require yet at this stage. The Sense restraint and the 3 ways of right conduct steps will ensure you of a beautiful karmic nature and you are then incapable of any negativity.
Your cultivation and mind becomes very different from here onwards. You will understand the satipatthana sutta very well. This Satipatthana or 4 foundation of mindfulness practices can lead to penetrative awakening borne of the 3rd turning. It is not mere words but real understanding. From then onward everything seems smooth sailing, you will experience the arising of the 7 factors of enlightenment factors (sati, dhammavicaya, viriya, piti and passaddhi (tranquility and stillness of mind), samadhi and upekkha). With sati, Samadhi and passaddhi, dharma keeps on arising and unfolding leading to enlightenment and by then you are at least an Anagami.
The 2nd step of the avijja sutta, starts with relaxation. Relax and listen with faith and sincerity to the true dharma. With relax inner awareness, contemplate and investigate the dharma. When they stand up for investigation, your faith is unshakable. Initial wisdom also arises. Through listening to the essential dharma (5 daily contemplations, 3 evil roots, 4 noble truths, 5 spiritual faculties, 5 mental hindrances, 7 factors of enlightenment) etc., you will know how the advice of Buddha comes about (through having right view with regards to the law of karma). You can then link all the essential dharma of the Buddha as one complete teaching.
Cultivate diligently with faith and spiritual zeal – it is easy to have sati leading to initial wisdom and then sati sampajanna. You are then home because after that Sense restraint, the 3 ways of right conduct and precepts become automatic. You are incapable of evil. By cultivating the 4 foundation of mindfulness, the factors of enlightenment keeps on arising. Relax, silent your mind (aware), 24 hour and trust are the 4 supports for successful meditation. You will be able to experience the silent mind with Inner awareness which is so pristine. This is true meditation. Bro Teoh’s last guide use to share this quote on meditation: “Relax, Aware and enjoy”.
Only those with strong mental hindrances due to their lack of the 5 spiritual faculties need to make use of method and technique of meditation to anchor or fix their mind so that their mind is not heedlessly lost in thought.
Meditation is not just about developing inner peace and inner calmness. Other benefits include clarity of mind to enable you to understand things fast and be more efficient in your work and studies better. But the real purpose of meditation is to develop wisdom to liberate your mind from all suffering. This wisdom can enable one to confront life with understanding especially the 8 realities of life as stated in the 1st noble truth. This state is conducive to live life.
Train the mind to be every mindful or aware and constantly meditative leading to heedfulness. Then use it to cultivate noble eightfold path. The heedful never dies. You are destined for enlightenment.
After the Buddha expounded the dhammacakkappavattana sutta, Venerable Kondanna became a sotapanna. After the Buddha expounded the Anattalakkhana sutta (sutta on non self), all his 5 disciples became arahant. How is it possible? Because they have already trained themselves in the past. Venerable Kondanna had the condition because in one of the past life, the Buddha vowed to bring him across first when he became the samma sambuddha as Kondanna had helped him perfected his perfection of Khanti (patient) earlier on. That is why he was the first to awaken. The rest of the bhikkus had faith. The moment he spoke the anattalakkhana sutta, the bhikkhus straight away became arahant. This is possible when one had realized non-self from their past cultivation. So when conditions arises, their minds transform and they realize arahantship.
Anattalakkhana sutta: If the body is self, then you should have control over it, and it would not tend towards suffering. Since it is otherwise. Thus it is non-self – not a permanent unchanging entity that you can have control over. Is this body, permanent or impermanent? Impermanent! That which is impermanent, tends towards suffering, by nature is subject to change; is it proper to regard it as: ‘This is mine. I am this. This is my body?’ The 5 bhikkus (asetics) became arahant right away after hearing this.
For Bro Teoh, he sees anatta in the mind aggregates very clearly in a different way, especially in feeling. He inquired: When feeling changes from pleasant to unpleasant, did you die? ‘You’ did not die, thus feeling cannot be ‘you’. Brother Teoh knew that the mind is not real even before his meditation practice. The mundane mind is dependent originating, a condition arising mind, a phenomena world of consciousness. It arises and passes away very fast. Thus the phenomena world of consciousness is not real. When it passes away, did you die? You did not die so how can consciousness be you. Thus the 5 aggregates of rupa (body), vedana (feeling), sanna (perception), sankhara (mental formations) and vinanam (consciousness) are not you. Why then grasp to these 5 aggregates of form and mind, thinking that there is an egoic mind and a personality within? This is self-delusion. When there is no mark of a self or living being, there is no more self-delusion because wisdom liberates your mind. Contemplate this deeply and you will understand. Daily mindfulness is needed unless you have cultivated before in the past.
Brother Teoh shared that his teacher showed him the gateway to his nature, he straight away knew what to do after that because he already has the dharma understanding before meeting him. Because of his past life’s cultivation, he can understand Master Hsuen Hua’s Surangama Sutra’s teaching well even though he is not mandarin educated. When his nature hears truth, it understands.
Nature is our best teacher. Nature is full of compassion and loving kindness. Nature always gives, gives and gives; nature never takes. The air we breathe, water we drink and the food we consume, all come from nature. Brother Teoh learns a lot from nature. Nature has no fear, worry anxiety and problem because they just accords and flows with conditions that arise, thus no suffering. The trees and plants (part of nature) tend to shed their leaves in autumn to bud again in spring. They never complain.
We must always be grateful and appreciative of life. Have contentment, love, joy and wisdom to make full use of this form and mind of ours to live the noble life with understanding. Dharma understanding is important for understanding life. When we understand life we can live life beautifully and we can experience all of the pristine beauty and wonders of life.
Form and mind is beautiful if you know how to make use of it. But do not be deceived by it. Use it wisely and beautifully for the well-being of all (yourself and others). Do not be heedless. Then you will have a beautiful karmic nature and a good life every time you come, regardless of whether you choose or have to come. Without the dharma understanding to take care of karma, in every life that you come you will suffer and there will be a lot of karmic obstructions and problems in life. But with dharma, life is meaningful and good.
We are blessed with a sound body and mind to enable us to have the means to live such a good life. Thus develop more contentment, joy, love and compassion and be appreciative of life and what the world has provided you and your loved ones.
It is important to widen your outlook of life. We are indeed very blessed to be able to bear witness and be a part of this great transformation in civilization and consciousness during this golden age of ours. Sometimes Money cannot buy you such rich experience to live such wonderful life in this world. But with dharma you can.
(Above draft short notes was prepared by Sister Angie Chong Phey Yuen.)
|Teoh Thu 190613||
Meditation is to be done with understanding. It involves training the mind to be aware, cumulating into moment to moment awareness (which is continuous) within life itself. This is the new way of living life, whereby awareness is continuous and one is always heedful (ever mindful and constantly meditative).
Brother Teoh shared the ‘tap dripping analogy’ used by Ajahn Jagaro to explain what sati or mindfulness is. He said, cultivating Mindfulness is like turning on the tap. Initially it hardly drips meaning one is hardly mindful throughout the day. Then as one trains the mind with understanding, this mindfulness starts to arise. It starts to drip bit by bit meaning every drip is one moment of awareness and initially the drips are not continuous yet. You eventually train yourself until the drips become a continuous flow. It is like awareness is now continuous, not just one moment at a time. In the beginning, when your mind is not trained, within split second, the mindfulness is gone because of the mental hindrances. So it is not easy to be aware all the time because of your heedless thinking borne of your mental hindrances and habitual tendencies. The main reason is, you lack the opposite 5 spiritual faculties. Without these 5 spiritual faculties the 5 mental hindrances takes over and they will hinder your mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace, calmness and awareness.
Thus for you to be constantly meditative, you must develop the 5 spiritual faculties until they are very stable. Then cultivate following the 10 steps as stated in the Avijja sutta: i.e. i) associating with dharma friends; ii) listening to true dharma; iii) having faith in the triple gem by putting the essential dharma to test. This faith drives you to cultivate further. With Saddha and Viriya, you can understand the essential dharma easily which is the beginning of initial wisdom (Yoniso manasikara). Then contemplate, inquire and reflect on them to straighten your views to arise the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom leading to this initial wisdom which is the 4th (iv) step. You are not deluded anymore because you are able to see things as they are; your mind will not stirred like before upon sense experience. Initial wisdom leads to v) Sati sampajanna. Then the rest of the steps will more or less automatically unfolds – that is vi) sense restraint; vii) the 3 ways of good or right conduct; viii) 4 foundations of mindfulness; ix) 7 enlightenment factors leading to x) enlightenment in the here and now.
When you cultivate correctly following this enlightenment sequence of the Avijja Sutta, ignorance will be rooted out and you will be transformed from a heedless being to a heedful awaken one.
Initial wisdom leads to Sati sampajanna. Awareness becomes a continuous flow because mind has entered sati. You then have a very stable mind which is heedful throughout the day. Thus it is important to train mind until the spiritual faculties are strong. Initial wisdom is vital for daily mindfulness to become continuous. Mindfulness well developed give rise to piti (spiritual calmness and joy) and sukha (blissfulness). Mindfulness becomes more refine and Meditation object becomes very subtle then one experiences passaddhi (tranquility and stillness of mind). This is your silent mind, your true mind which is also your meditative mind. This is true meditation. As mind enters sati, there is transformation. Even when you are out of formal meditation, you can detect and be aware of your heartbeat, subtle breathing etc. Every movement is magnified. All seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, tactile and your thought processes are in sati. You are heedful in the mist of life.
When you are able to connect to your true mind, you will inherit from your spiritual nature. All understanding will start to unfold. Dharma is clear. You can easily understand the Mahayana sutras as truth because the true mind has awakened to truth.
You can use this mindfulness (the silent mind) to see your evil roots, to straighten your views and to awaken. Thus wisdom is vital. But most cultivators are too impatient and they tend to be too eager to relate to their sense experience the theoretical dharma knowledge that they have gathered leading towards complacency. Contemplate the dharma until they are very, very clear before relating to the dharma to stabilize your understanding. You need to silent your mind until the awakening (wisdom) or understanding arise first. Don’t go and look for the dharma. The dharma is to be awaken to via the direct seeing by the silent mind.
When one have a glimpse of the nibbanic state, it is important to stabilize it and allow the cessation to continue for longer duration until it is very stable. Brother Teoh shared further that when you come out of that cessation, you will know who you are and what you are, what that ‘nature’ is. When you are in it, the form and mind completely cease. Awareness and the pure consciousness also cease. This is the unconditioned. One cannot decide when the form and mind will arise again. As the ‘form and mind’ is connected to that cessation, it will know how it happened. But the moment it goes into cessation, you cannot talk about it. When you are in this phase, you cannot decide when to come out. The condition will arise by itself. When it comes out, awareness and mindfulness will know how it all started – how the consciousness first comes in again at the heart area and immediately split into 3; one at your brain area, one at the heart area and one at the Tan Tien area. The moment consciousness enters this three main areas, it will activate these centers. You become ‘animated’ into a human being again. You see clearly with awareness how your brain starts again, like a dynamo starting to generate electricity again. Same goes for the heart area – how the pulse of life start, how the Tan Tien activates the energy movements in your body. Your mind will be transformed. When you come out of it, you can see the sense data coming in, one by one like in slow motion. Your understanding will be very different from then on, on who you are, what you are and how you become a human being. All these are not described in the scripture so you cannot understand unless you have gone through it yourself. Reason why the dharma is paccatam.
The Buddha mentioned that Nibbana is not something you can talked about using words because it is the unconditioned. However, Brother Teoh has to use words to describe to you what actually happened. But you must not look for it. When you do experience it, all the memory and understanding will come back to you and you will understand all this beautifully. You might use your own words which is different, to describe it. But they all point to the same experience and transformation – cessation of form and mind is always the same for all. This is the Oneness nature and for those who have gone through it, they will know. Buddha said, ‘if it is not because of the unconditioned, escape from the conditioned world will be impossible’. The conditioned world needs conditions to manifest. The conditioned world is always subject to conditions, which is dependent originating hence impermanent, leading to suffering and thus not you, not a permanent unchanging entity you can cling or grasp on to. You will see the empty nature of existence, the unreality of life and the phenomenal world of consciousness very clearly. You truly understand what this ‘form and mind’ is and how it arises. There is a true nature connected to it. After that you are able to comprehend the teachings of Buddha clearly. You can see the big picture with all the small pieces of puzzles falling into place; reason why you are able to link all the teaching after that and you will also come to understand that all the Buddha’s teaching (essential dhamma) spins out from the 4 Noble Truths. I.e. from right view it all comes about. You are able to link them all through experiential understanding, not through knowledge. Buddha said the dharma can only be understood by the wise, each for themselves – ‘Paccattam veditabbo vinnuhi’. Unless you have the wisdom, you cannot understand the dharma. Buddha can only show you the way, you have to walk the path yourself, awaken yourself. No amount of teaching can help you if you don’t have the faith, sincerity and perseverance to diligently develop the understanding of it.
When Brother Teoh first read about the 4 Noble truths in 1971 he was only 17 years old, but his nature knew what that was and from that moment onwards he stop his search for truth. Brother Teoh knew, ‘This is it. This is the secret of life and this teaching is the most important in life’. This 4 noble truths explain the whole of life, both its mundane and supra mundane aspects. His nature had developed this understanding before, thus past cultivation is vital. Brother Teoh continued to share and caution Kalyanamitta that complacency can occur when one experience a very good or special meditative mind state and thinks one has attained because this is not wisdom. It is just a conditioned state of mind. It is important to continue developing your daily mindfulness to enable you to see your subtle cravings, greed and the dependent origination links of paticca sammupada clearly. Then through personal experience you will come to realize how beautiful the teaching is. You will understand why Buddha said we are all still deluded regardless of how educated we are. Self-delusion/Ignorance means not understanding who you are, causing you to cling to your form and mind and get afflicted. The 3 evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion are behind all that you do when you are deluded.
Deluded beings tend to have a motive behind what they do, and to argue with others to defend their motives. They are not able to act with a pure thought which is free of the 3 evil roots. Instead they always act with the ‘for me or not for me’ selfish intentions. This is the reason why Master Hsuen Hua modified the 5 precepts to the 6 principles in his teaching by adding in, no selfishness and no self benefitting principles as part of the 6 principles needed to live the good life. When you are very mindful you are very sensitive and you will have sense restraint because you will be able to see clearly the slightest movement of like and dislikes and your subtle mental intentions. You cannot do something selfless due to attachment borne of self-delusion. For example, sending your children to the best college also comes from the thought that conditioned you to belief, they are your children and that is why you are willing to send them to the best college.
Brother Teoh shared his own experience on this during his early days of cultivation. He noticed very clearly that almost all of his actions or decisions are based on some form of selfish motives behind. Thus he continued to straighten his views and do things in a different manner. Love means love, joy means joy. There is no opposites. He was able to help anyone genuinely, when there is condition to help. Brother Teoh said, ‘this can be done’. If there is no conditions, even his own family members or relatives, he also will not help. He does not force his children to study the dharma when they are still young. He just let them be and let conditions set in – which will manifest due to their past karma.
With good conditions, you will get to hear the dharma. Everything in this universe are just causal phenomenal, a phenomenal world of consciousness, no reality, only memories. There is no such thing as ‘My loved ones’, ‘my wealth’ and ‘my possessions’ etc. They only relates to the existential world. But because our ‘form and mind’ is subject to karma which recognizes relationships, so you must do your duty in accordance with this law of karma and not be deluded by the ‘form and mind’, thinking they are your loved ones and you are real.
Sister Tammy shared her recent retreat experience where she experienced hearing an eerie crying sound in the middle of the night. There were rumors about unseen beings around that area. Her thoughts proliferated. She reflected on it and said, ‘it is just fear’ so don’t worry.
Brother Teoh shared further, that fear arise due to one’s thought projection. So stay with the fear with awareness and see what happen? Often it is from your conditioned memory which will remind you of your Chinese belief that in dark places there are ghosts. But when you have the understanding, you do not fear and the eerie crying sound may continue. At least you notice these thoughts movements. You know that this non-human has no physical form and thus cannot harm you. You should trust your nature, virtue and dharma cultivation to protect you. There must be condition for these non-humans to be here. It is usually the case that these non-humans just want merits. King Bimbisara’s story is a good example where he could not sleep due to the spirits who actually wanted merits and after he shared merits the spirits became deva. These non-humans usually can sense one’s aura and they need merits to go to a higher realm. We can just silent our mind, radiate metta and share merits with them, and they can receive. When we chant ‘Ākāsaṭṭhā ca bhummaṭṭhā, Deva nāga mahiddhikā, Puññaṃ taṃ anumoditvā, Ciraṃ rakkhantu loka sāsanaṃ’, the deva will rejoice and they will long protect you and the Buddha sasana. That is why you tend to notice that when we travel, go on spiritual trips and meditation retreats, everything somehow falls into place and it was as if we are always very lucky, very blessed and well protected. The weather too are always very kind to us. Buddha sasana will continue to exist as long as genuine dharma cultivators are still around.
Mental hindrances are the ones hindering you from entering the meditative state to meditate, from keeping your precepts, from having virtue and cause you to entangle yourself with problems in life. With dharma understanding, you will know how to live differently to have the good life where everything is a blessing instead.
As kalyanamittas, we have our cultivation so learn to trust your virtue, merits and blessings. Your 10 meritorious actions performed while attending our dharma classes and session are very powerful and when you invoke the power of merits for causes and conditions for you to always avoid the foolish and heedless, meet up with the wise always, you will progress beautifully. Thus you don’t have to worry about having the good life as your nature will shine forth and support you. Nothing protects you except your virtues, wisdom and goodness. There is no need to fear, as it is only the thought that fears. Cultivate continuously, share and transfer merits to all beings and dharma protectors, rejoice and be a blessing to all. That is why every dharma session before and after class, puja is done. You recall to mind the significance of all the puja offerings, you take refuge, renew your precepts, performing dana, sila and bhavana, chant salutations to Triple gem, listening to dharma, rejoicing, straightening your views, sharing and transferring merits, provide service to community. All these are the 10 meritorious actions. As you do these wholesomeness in every session with a heedful mind, you are transformed without you even knowing it. When you attend one of this session with faith, sincerity and attentiveness, the merits you received, is beyond what you can imagine. Sometimes a person who has lived 100s of worldly lives doing worldly merits cannot even accumulate this much merits because the merits you get from one of this session is way beyond theirs. If you attend one of our annual meditation retreat (for example our 9 days annual meditation retreat at Cameron Highlands, Sam Poh temple), the wholesomeness your nature received will be way beyond, and you will benefit tremendously, progress very fast along the dharma path.
Brother Teoh explained further on sharing merits with the unseen beings/spirits when you are travelling. You can share merits from the heart. When you can feel or sense them, silent your mind and communicate or talk to them. Explain to them that you know they have been occupying this place, long before you arrive, but in this society of ours, there is the tradition that if we pay for the room we have the right to stay for the night, so you are most welcome to stay and help protect this place. I come in peace and mean no harm. If I had caused you any misunderstanding or anxiety, please accept my sincere apology. Then wish them well-being and happiness always. You are just there to stay for the night, not to create any unnecessary misunderstanding and that you hope they understand. As cultivator (dharma practitioner) you will share and transfer merits to them. Radiate love and metta to them. These non-humans are actually everywhere with different culture and religious belief.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sister Angie Chong Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190606||
Cultivating Dhamma investigation into the essential dhamma as taught by the Buddha can bring about unwavering faith in the triple gem. With initial wisdom developed through such investigation, your mind will not stir. Stability of mind allows one to be at peace with all situations and whomsoever one meet. When you are constantly aware, with more inner peace and equanimity of mind, you can to see things as they are to awaken. Without thought, there is spacious awareness. This stability of daily mindfulness can give rise to sati sampajanna leading to sense restraint. Then the moment you are aware of any evil thoughts arising, you can straight away arise the right efforts to abandon or prevent it from arising. Mental hindrances will not disturb you anymore. The 3 ways of right conducts then comes naturally.
Kayanupassana (mindfulness of the kaya) cultivation covers Anapanasati, mindfulness of the 4 postures, mindfulness of every actions and movements in the present moment, contemplating the 4 elements, the 32 parts of body and finally contemplation of the 9 stages of cemetery decomposition of the kaya. They are all vital cultivation needed to establish the mindfulness leading to initial wisdom. Then cravings for beautiful forms and attachment to the phenomena world of consciousness will cease to be for you know all these are mere illusions. When awakening and wisdom arise, self-delusion breaks down and your mind breaks free and liberates. The phenomena world of consciousness will fails to have power over you. You will then understand how through self-delusion, living beings cling onto the 5 aggregates of form and mind causing suffering.
When you cultivate mindfulness of feeling and cittanupassana (mindfulness of content of consciousness), you are aware and understand clearly how this feeling in its pure state (before the stirring) transformed into likes and dislikes (sensual desire and ill-will) due to your wrong views. With a stable awareness, you will come to understand how the un-arisen mental hindrances and evil roots come to be and how the arisen mental hindrances cease to be.
Under Dhammanupassana (mindfulness of dhamma), you cultivate mindfulness of the 5 mental hindrances, 5 aggregates of form and mind, the 6 external and internal sense bases, the 7 factors of enlightenment and the 4Noble Truths. Through cultivating the mindfulness of the 6 internal and 6 external sense bases you can trace the origination factors, that through wrong view you input the wrong content, and thus causing your mind to stir. That is how the mental hindrance comes about. But as you silent your mind, these mental hindrances will cease to be. You just relax, be silent and maintain awareness. With this understanding you can retrospectively reverse them through right views. Then you will no longer react like before.
As you are aware and mindful of all the 7 factors of enlightenment (i.e. Sati, dhammavicaya, viriya, piti, passaddhi, Samadhi and upekkha) arising, you know you are on the right path and you are on the way towards awakening. Needless to say after that the 3rd turning wisdom (bhavana mayapanna) will keep on arising. Enlightenment in the here and the now is then possible.
Sister Angie shared: ‘Buddhist teaching focus on mental development.’ Bro Teoh explained that, here mental development means tends towards purification of mind leading to awakening and not the pursuit of knowledge. The pursuit of knowledge is for the intellectual and scholars. Wisdom leads to awakening and understanding. With understanding you are transformed and life is well lived. You get to live the life of an enlightened one. This is living the 3rd phase of dhamma, Pativedha. You are able to see things as they are, you are always heedful and at peace with life under all circumstances. Life is then very meaningful and beautiful. This is the fruition of your hard work (cultivation of the dhamma). You get to experience all the pristine beauty and wonders of life.
The external phenomenal world is impermanent and unreal; empty nature of existence. It is always the inside that decides the outside. Thus look within with awareness to understand yourself. Most people are basically thought based in their approach to life. They are heedless due to their delusions – they think a lot and are hardly aware/mindful. The Buddha said, ‘The heedless are as if dead. On the other hand, the heedful is ever mindful and constantly meditative and they never die’. They are always aware of their content of consciousness.
Most people act based on their memories with their views, opinions, belief system and conditioning. These are habitual tendencies. But with wisdom, you will know your life is entirely dependent on kamma. Hence it is of utmost importance to follow Buddha’s advice to avoid all evil, do good and purify your mind to act with understanding (wisdom). To do these we need to be ever mindful to enable us to keep the 5 precepts and see our mental intentions within clearly. This is shining the light within.
For example, when you are constantly aware of your inner emotions, you will come to understand how anger come to be? Before anger arise there was no anger. So anger is dependent originating and anger is never you because when anger arise, if you just relax and stay with it through an awareness, anger dissipate and cease to be. So anger is obviously never you. It is condition arising due to your self-delusion. It is the egoic mind that thinks you exist, you are real and anger is you. You eventually come to know that the 5 aggregates of rupa, vedana, sanna, sankhara, and vinnana are all the same – they also exhibit the3 universal characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta.
It is important to have right view with regards to these three nature’s spiritual laws of kamma niyama, citta niyama and dhamma niyama. It is avijja that conditions suffering. The world is merely an illusionary world of consciousness.
Those with past cultivation, when they hear the truth, they can awaken right away. The silent mind awakens to the truth of annica, dukkha and anatta.
Most living beings are able to use less than 10% of their brain’s capability. They use it to arise mainly thoughts and they are hardly aware most of the time. The pure consciousness aspect of mind are hardly tapped.
Talented people are most creative when they are in a tranquil setting with a clear mind. When there is complete silence, the awareness makes the mind very sensitive and fully aware. This is the meditative mind. On the other hand, the mundane mind tend to obscures the true nature from shining forth because it is filled with negative thoughts and emotions. You are either aware or you are lost in thought. Delusion and awakening is just the flip of the hand.
Cultivators without understanding cultivate only Theoretical or knowledge dhamma which is thought or memory based. Instead you need to cultivate with your silent mind to awaken your nature and wisdom. Be patient. Make sure you understand the teaching first before putting it into cultivation. The Buddha’s advice to strive on with heedfulness is very important. To be heedful, you need to be ever mindful PLUS constantly meditative i.e. to constantly cultivate the noble eightfold path which is the meditation as taught by the Buddha.
You must train your mind to be mindful first then stabilize it to be ever mindful. One can start with anapanasati i.e. be aware of your breathing in and breathing out to arise the mindfulness. Train in anapanasati until the breath becomes very subtle and mind very still (mind has enters sati or has realized passadhi). Train your mind to be ever mindful in midst of life. Always be heedful. Heedfulness is the path to the deathless. Initial wisdom is vital and it can be developed via listening to the dhamma with strong faith to arise the suttamaya and cintamaya panna. With the clear understanding of the Buddha’s essential dhamma, one can liberate oneself from the cycle of samsara (birth and death).
Buddha sasana is still very much alive now. With faith, diligently cultivate with understanding and you will progress fast and awaken. It is not difficult. With the dhamma awakening, you will understand life and can live life well.
(Above outline short notes draft is prepared by Sister Angie Chong Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190530||
Sister Angie asked a question: ‘After one has practiced meditation, how to know if one has achieved panna or awakening?’
Brother Teoh’s answer: There must be transformation for the better in one’s understanding, character and personality. Wisdom means having understanding to be more peaceful and happy. I.e. ability to be free from all suffering leading to inner peace, calmness, inner joy and stillness of mind. Your mind does not stir or easily get distracted like before. There is this stability of mind to observe with wisdom as to whether the mental hindrances and the evil roots are still there to deceive them.
Bro Teoh further elaborate: To realize that one must develop the deep understanding of ‘what constitutes evil?’ Greed, Hatred and Delusion are the 3 major roots of all evils. Greed (Lobha in pali) means having craving. The evil root of Greed is not only greediness it includes craving, lust, desires, selfishness, possessiveness, deceitfulness, covetousness, cunningness, intention to cheat or harm or take advantage of situation and people.
Craving is a desire. Your mind can be conditioned to like and disliking something. Brother Teoh shared that since young, he cannot be conditioned into doing something that society normally does. In fact he often does them quite differently (the opposite of society’s norm) including the way he looks at things. Examples are: he does his addition from right to left instead of left to right which is the norm; he even holds his flute in music class facing right instead of left which is also the norm of society. Brother Teoh shared his younger days up to the age of five while living in Butterworth. His mind was quiet, peaceful and having much joy but with little or no thought at all most of the time. He brought along much luck and blessing to his family, the moment he was born into his family. He felt he can finish his primary school’s learning in 3 years instead of 6 years. The moment he is taught Math, Science and Geography subjects while he was in the secondary school, his interest in such subjects kicked in. He started to probe into Life deeply. Whenever he heard truth, his nature rejoiced. He learnt things very fast and he is very thorough in his approach to study. (For more details please do listen to the video and audio sharing).
Brother Teoh explained that his nature has the ability to learn and understand things very fast. This was due to his nature’s past cultivation and perfections. His nature inherited this inner wisdom/understanding from his spiritual nature. Every cultivator is different but once they connect to their true nature they will inherit from their nature very fast and they will reach back to their past cultivation point very fast and they will continue from that point. They will have the ability to see clearly their evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion (no matter how subtle they are, they will know).
Brother Teoh further explained that in a situation where you have an ambition and you work towards achieving it with understanding, that is not greed because you work towards realizing it with right understanding. On the other hand, if greed and delusion are involved, the wrong thoughts they arise are with the evil roots. Then there is karmic repercussion involved.
The evil roots of Hatred (Dosa in pali) includes your anger, deep resentment, hatred, jealousy, envy, ill will, dislike, unhappiness, misery and sorrow including all your other negative emotions.
The evil root of Delusion (Moha in pali) includes your doubt, worries, restlessness, fear, anxiety, sloth and torpor, etc. It includes ignorant of the truth (lack of understanding and not having right views).
We need to cultivate mindfulness, yonisomanasikara (initial wisdom) and the 4 right efforts to root out these 3 evil roots of Greed Hatred and Delusion. This is what meditation is all about. You need to always cultivate the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom to arise the initial wisdom via listening to the true dhamma and reflecting. Only with initial wisdom, can one apply the right effort to prevent the evil thoughts from arising. Brother Teoh shared that for those who have gone through depression, they can prevent these wrong thoughts from arising easier once they have the initial wisdom developed because they understand how these wrong thoughts caused them great suffering when they were caught in depression. These wrong thoughts not only caused suffering and misery to themselves but also to others too. Thus when they see this clearly, they can no longer let these wrong depressive thoughts arise to harm them again.
With the initial wisdom, you will be more mindful and sensitive. You can even be aware of the very subtle evil root that arises within your form and mind. With such sensitivity of mind, all these negative evil mind states cannot arise to deceive them anymore.
If you do not view or perceive the world and people with negativity and fear, there will be no problem. No problem means no more fear, worry and anxiety and there is only peace and clarity of mind to act and resolve things amicably with wisdom and understanding. But if we perceive them with negativity and fear then there will be problem all the time due to one’s lack of wisdom.
The only reality in life is this moment. When you have wisdom, you will not worry about life because you know what reality is. As there is this conditioned world and all beings are subject to karma, thus you know how to do your duties properly. Yet you know everything is impermanent, subject to suffering, and non-self. This form and mind is not something you can cling onto by saying this is ‘me’ and these are ‘mine’. Hence you will not cling via delusion and you are able to accord and flow with conditions following your understanding and are at peace with all things and conditions all the time.
When you are silent and have more moment of awareness, you can see things as they are clearly. Then that penetrative meditative wisdom borne of the 3rd turning (direct seeing) can arise and you will know what constitutes evil. You understand the 5 mental hindrances, the 5 spiritual faculties and the 5 daily contemplations clearly. You also know that this form and mind is subject to its kamma and separation happens when condition cease to be, thus you cannot desire to own anything, not even this form and mind.
The 5 daily contemplations are essential for us to develop the wisdom to counter the first noble truth 8 realities of suffering. The 5th contemplation involves the law of kamma: ‘you are all born of your kamma, heir to your kamma, conditioned and supported by it and you are what you are due to your kamma. Thus you need to take care of kamma through avoiding all evil and doing good. But without dhamma and wisdom, the world can still afflict you due to your delusion i.e. clinging to the 5 aggregates of form and mind. Negativity of mind states borne of delusion can still cause misery and suffering. But with his essential dhamma, liberation is possible. Heedfulness leading to purification of mind and awakening is vital. You need to understand clearly the whole of the essential dhamma to be able to meditate leading to awakening.
The 10 steps as taught by the Buddha in his Avijja sutta’s enlightenment sequence are vital for cultivators to awaken and they are:
As kalyanamittas, you already have the first 3 steps. You only have to work hard on the 4th and 5th steps then you are home. Steps 6 and 7 are automatic (a natural consequence of steps 4 and 5).
Self-delusion separates you. When you think you are real, you create the illusion of an existential self. Hence a personality arises. When the ‘I’ exists, this entity will further develop the Greed, Hatred and Delusion. But when there is an understanding of the whole big picture of the Buddha’s teaching, there is faith in the Buddha and his teaching leading to the arising of the other 4 spiritual faculties of viriya, sati, samadhi and panna. Then your mind is naturally heedful, ever mindful and you will understand the 12 links or dependent origination teaching very well and you will definitely awaken.
The sense of guilt and remorse is a self-delusion believing that this form and mind is real and it is you.
There is a talk entitled ‘Lay person certainly can become an ariya’. This is because it is the form and mind that awakens to the truth, that form and mind or human being is the ariya but it is not you.
Brother Teoh acknowledged that currently there are better conditions for us to link the overall picture of the essential dhamma with the cultivation clearly. We should rejoice with Angie’s good question. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Brother Teoh shared that Tun Mahathir our Prime Minister was recently invited to an international conference in Japan entitled ‘The future of Asia’. He was the only speaker (leader) invited to speak. Tun’s mind is still so energetic, agile and witty. He is a true leader. In the interview, he was asked many very diverse questions ranging from politics to important day to day questions that are of great interest. Tun also spoke on how to resolve world conflicts and global trade wars in a civilized manner. We are civilized nations and we should resolve everything on the negotiation table via give and take leading to a win-win situation. Negotiate with facts, understanding and fairness. Not via confrontations, arrogance, threats, sanctions and wars.
Regarding Sister Angie’s second question on trade wars: which country is wiser? Brother Teoh shared some of the answers given by Tun Mahathir as he was asked the same questions. Tun said: it is an undeniable fact that the world is evolving and progress very fast. In the past, the West is more civilized and advance. But now, Asian people learn fast and they, especially China with 3 times the population of US is rising and progressing very fast too. Brother Teoh further shared on how China introduced great and wonderful reforms (following the dhamma understanding by introducing righteous and good value systems) to transform itself from a poor 3rd world country to become the 2nd largest world economy in just over a period of 40 years. The China’s socialist capitalism miracle! They started by questioning: ‘Why China never really progressed in terms of its economy as a communist socialist country’. They realized that communism is good but patriotism without the appropriate value system and incentive to grow a strong economy does not help. They studied all the world’s political systems and finally came up with their own unique system that is so beautiful. To be successful, China needs a good education system, sincere, good and dedicated scientists, a hard working work force and leaders with good ethics; value systems etc and thus they opt for true meritocracy by incorporating the useful aspect of capitalism, like a free market system allowing sincere, genuine, innovative and hard working people to prosper and succeed. They encourage competitions and give incentives for innovations, R & D and growth to grow the market economy.
(Above draft is by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190523
1st session – Meditation
When you understand the Buddha’s teaching, you will have strong faith in him. This spiritual faculty of Saddha will arise the viriya (spiritual zeal) to drive you to cultivate sati. When the resulting Sati is stabilized it cumulates into Samadhi (a collected and unwavering free mind). This, will enable you to see things as they are leading to wisdom. These 5 spiritual faculties can help you overcome the 5 mental hindrances (of sensual desire, ill will, restlessness, sloth/torpor and doubt) to enable you to meditate. Without the mental hindrances the mind will settle down into the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness easily.
With the 5 spiritual faculties established, you can easily relax and maintain silent inner awareness to develop the meditation. Sati will be established leading to Samadhi right away. There is awareness of your heartbeat, mental activities as well as the contact of body and mind. You can see dependent origination clearly. Due to ignorance, sankhara (mental thinking) arises thereby creating contact with the brain to trigger off the mental consciousness with its content arise from memories, to condition your like/dislikes and emotional negativity.
For those without the 5 spiritual faculties to establish mindfulness, you need to decondition the heedless thinking by using the mind-sweeping method combine with metta. Then stabilize the sati with anapanasati.
2nd session – Discussion topic: Understanding Life, Its purpose and meaning
If you don’t understand life you cannot live life and you cannot discuss its purpose and meaning. So understanding life is very important.
All of us need to confront the challenges of life especially the 1st Noble truth’s 8 realities of confronting old age, sickness, death and separation from loved ones etc. with wisdom. We also need to have self-knowledge to know who are you and what are you? If you don’t even know who are you and what are you then who is living your life? It you are deluded and heedless without awareness then the thoughts are living your life most of the time. It is important for us to understand life to live life well.
As Buddhists we are indeed very blessed to have Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings to explain to us the deep meaning of life. The essence of his teaching is the 4 noble truths and this 4 noble truths, summary to us all of life (both the mundane and supra mundane). It also reveal to us the secret of life.
The 1st noble truth explains to us the prevalence of dukkha or suffering and it highlight to us the 8 realities of life and existence. All of your suffering, sorrow and misery come from confronting these 8 realities without the requisite wisdom. The 8 realities are: 1) Birth; 2) Old age; 3) Sickness; 4) Death; 5) Separation from loved ones or our prized possession, 6) When you’re with people whom you don’t like; 7) When things don’t go your way, when your expectation in life are not met and when you cannot get what you want; and lastly 8) the 5 grasping aggregates (conditioned by one’s self-delusion) are dukkha. When you meditate with the silent mind, you will understand that this 5 aggregates of form and mind is dependent originating and impermanent hence it is not you. This body and mind is just a karmically conditioned ‘vehicle and tool’ for us to come to this existential world to live and experience life. With this understanding you can live life with good understanding.
When you grasp and attach to your physical body you suffer because you will worry about it getting old, sick and one day die. If you cling to feeling, whether pleasant or unpleasant feelings, you will also suffer because feeling is dependent originating hence it is impermanent and not a permanent unchanging entity which you can cling onto and grasp onto as the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’. The same goes with all your perception, sankhara (activities of mind) and consciousness. Reason why the Buddha said, ‘the 5 grasping aggregates are suffering’.
The 2nd noble truth explains the cause of arising of suffering. It is self-delusion that conditions craving that cause you to grasp and cling. Investigate further: If I grasp, cling and attach to form and feeling, all that I perceive and my mind states, views and opinions, do I suffer? Without dharma wisdom, you definitely suffer.
The 3rd noble truth explains that suffering need not be if you have with good understanding of Buddha’s teaching. Enlightenment in the here and now is possible. You know how to live life and are free from the 1st noble truth’s 8 realities. You cannot be deceived by the phenomenal world and the 5 aggregates of form and mind anymore. Instead you can live life to the fullest, with joy, understanding and love as an enlightened being.
The 4th noble truth explains that if you cultivate this noble eightfold path, it will lead to the end of all suffering i.e. enlightenment in the here and now.
Utu Niyama (nature’s physical order), Bija Niyama (nature’s biological order), Kamma Niyama (law of Kamma/Moral causation), Citta Niyama and Dhamma Niyama are the 5 nature’s universal orders that governs all of life and existence. The first 2 are scientific laws of nature and the last 3 are spiritual laws of nature. Understanding these laws constituent right views leading to wisdom. This will enable us to understand life.
Life is our greatest teacher. Nature has great compassion. We learn from life through observing nature. The nature’s law of karma says, you reap what you sow and if you plant the seed of wholesomeness, you will reap the fruit of wholesomeness. Master Hsuen Hua also said, whatever causes you plant will give rise to its fruition when there are conditions for their arising. He thus warned, ‘please do not plant the wrong seed and reap the wrong fruit’. So to have the good life we have to take care of karma via following the advice of the Buddha.
From the spiritual point of view, your sole purpose in life is to develop such understanding via following the advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil, do good and purify your mind, to live the good life with wisdom and to always plant wholesome conditions.
You must have Dutiful conduct – do your duty in accordance with these laws of nature especially the law of karma. Be responsible in life. As spouse, as children, as siblings, as parents, as employee/employer, do your duties well. Even towards the environment. If you neglect your duties, in future you will reap what you sow. Right duty is right dhamma. You must also have Right conduct, good conduct and wise conduct after following the advice of the Buddha to cultivate wholesomeness to build up your karmic nature, so that when you choose to come or have come to, you will have the good Karmic support. Develop wisdom, you won’t suffer, life becomes meaningful and beautiful. Live the noble life of an enlightened being who is free of fear and suffering. You are always peaceful, happy and tranquil. Heart Sutra – ‘true emptiness is wonderful existence.
In the year 1971, Brother Teoh (17 years old) reflected on these questions, “Who Am I?” in this vast universe and why am I here? What is the purpose of life? He received the answer from deep within his nature – ‘that he cannot understand all these unless he meditated’. This probe was due to his past vows and cultivation.
The Meaning and purpose of life can be established after you understand life. You must also understand who are you? What the 5 aggregates of form and mind is? Is it really you? If not, then who are you? It is important to understand who you are? In order to know who is living your life. Usually it is your thought that is living your life. The thought is egoic, deluded and full of craving. This deluded thought cannot live life. You need to contemplate and develop understanding of your true mind, to be aware, to see clearly who you are? Investigate into what the Buddha says. That the 5 aggregates is impermanent and if you cling onto it, you suffer. As it is impermanent, you cannot cling on to it, to say this is ‘me’ and all these are ‘mine’. As you break free from self-delusion, your attachment to form and mind loses its grip and is relinquished. You understand the body and mind is NOT you but is related to you karma wise. To use the form and mind and yet not be deceived by it is wisdom. To realize the unconditioned dharma to develop the wisdom to live life is very important.
Conditioned dharma has its own reality. It recognizes relationship, right duty, wholesomeness and unwholesomeness and the 4 noble truths etc. But in true emptiness (the unconditioned), there is no old age, sickness, death, no 4 noble truths, no suffering, no attainment, etc. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. The Conditioned and Unconditioned dharma exist side by side. You need to understand both of them to live the good life.
To be able to apply Buddha’s teaching is most important. Develop the dharma understanding and cultivate to transform both your karmic and spiritual natures. To become a beautiful living being (personality and character wise) and be a blessing to all. Be determined to cultivate it, take vow, plant the Bodhi seed, nurtures it beautifully so that this Bodhi mind will continue to arise life after life to support your cultivation.
Karmic nature surely brings you to the world i.e. karma decides. Regarding the spiritual nature you have to connect to your true nature first before you can inherit from it. Thus it is important to have the vows and aspirations to enable you to connect with your true nature and the Bodhi mind to propel you forward to receive the teaching so that you are always on the right track. Faith in the dharma is vital.
When Brother Teoh’s nature comes to this world, he just accords and flows with understanding, to allow conditions to arise by itself. Brother Teoh shared that by attending his dharma classes, the merits and parami accrued can be very immense and powerful. It is rare indeed to have the condition to listen to the true dharma thus cherish and treasure it. In that sense you all are very blessed to be part of the kalyanamitta family. You all must have your past cultivations and affinity.
After straightening your views with initial wisdom, you are less reactive, more aware and mindful. There is more space between thoughts. You are calm, peaceful and your mind seldom stirs. This is sati sampajanna. Once you hit this, you are home. With this sati sampajanna cultivated only you can have sense restraint to enable you to cultivate the 4 right efforts, keep precepts and arise the 3 way of right conducts. By then you are at least a Sotapanna or a skadagami. You can then cultivate the 4 foundation of mindfulness. Then the 7 factors of enlightenment keeps on arising, you are on the right path – enlightenment in the here and the now (Nibanna) can happen. All these 10 cultivation steps as stated in the Avijja sutta is not difficult. The path and fruition keeps on arising. When connected to your true nature, you can breeze through the cultivation very fast, continuing from your past life cultivation after that.
(Above outline short notes draft is by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190516||
16 May 2019 Thursday class coincided with Teacher’s Day. Kalyanamittas greeted Bro Teoh, ‘Happy Teacher’s Day’ to express their gratitude to Bro Teoh for sharing and guiding all Kalyanamittas with the True Dharma all these while. Sadhu! X3.
Meditation: Relax body and mind and maintain attentiveness. The moment you are silent and without thought, you are already aware. So you don’t have to learn or try to be aware. Awareness is naturally there the moment you are without thought.
-Hence meditation is about relaxing the mind to realize the peace and inner awareness within.
The 5 spiritual faculties are very important mind states that can enable one to understand spiritual teachings easily. It can also help us root out the five mental hindrances. Without the 5 mental hindrances, there is nothing to hinder the mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness.
Reflect and contemplate on who the Buddha is and how special his teaching is to develop the faith. Also see the uniqueness of the Buddha: he is not only enlightened, he is fully enlightened. With faith investigate deeply to develop the understanding of his teachings. Its teaching can liberate your mind, free you from all sufferings and bring about enlightenment. When you understand how wonderful and unique his teaching is, it will drive you via viriya – the spiritual zeal to cultivate sincerely and diligently because nothing is more important than understanding this rather beautiful Dharma which can make your mind always peaceful under all situations and circumstances while living life, no matter where you are and who or what you encounter. To be heedful, you need to be ever mindful first. To be ever mindful, you need to train your mind to be aware and mindful first. That is the first stage, then stabilise it to be ever mindful to cultivate the Noble Eight Fold Path leading to heedfulness.
All meditation usually starts off with techniques and methods needed to anchor the mind because the heedless mind just cannot settle down. This heedless mind thinks a lot, because their mental hindrances are very strong and they have become so habitual. If that is the case you don’t have a chance to live a proper, orderly daily life. Throughout the day, you will be heedless due to the mental hindrances that hinder your mind from entering the meditative state. Therefore, unless you have the opposite 5 spiritual faculties developed, technically you cannot meditate. That is the reason why techniques and methods are taught to enable one to anchor the mind so that it is not heedlessly lost in thought. Object of meditation can also be used to anchor the mind.
The Buddha taught Anapanasati (mindfulness of the in and out breath) which is a very good and rather neutral object of meditation, suitable for most personality. Your breath is always within the moment, so when you are mindful of your own in and out breath there is no thought. For cultivators, who have developed the understanding, skills and spiritual faculties, they can use Anapanasati to start off the training of the mind to be aware straight away. For others who have no training or skills, use the mind sweeping method combined with metta to bring about the de-conditioning of heedless thinking mind first before using anapanasati to stabilize the sati or awareness developed.
When you do the mind sweeping method, you just feel and relax. There is no thinking! This training will de-condition the heedless thinking to make you calm and peaceful. This non-thinking is a new conditioning. Repeat this cycle of mind sweeping, from the forehead to your buttock and then buttock to forehead. After 1 cycle, mind becomes more quiet, peaceful and just aware by itself. This awareness need to be stabilized by anapanasati leading to the silent mind within. To stabilize it is easy; just follow the instructions: ‘breathing in aware, breathing out aware’ as taught by the Buddha. Initially when you are not familiar, the mind will wonder off very fast. For those familiar with other objects of meditation, methods or techniques like the Rising and falling of the abdomen, dynamic hand movement method, reciting Bud-dho … as taught in the Thai tradition, Mahayana chanting or any other skilful means which they are familiar with, they can also use them. Its main purpose is to anchor the mind to the meditation object to develop mindfulness.
Do not focus and develop concentration because that is samatha meditation leading to energy field. The moment mind is trained and stabilized; do not continue doing it because you have to use the trained mind to meditate to develop the following understanding:
When Anapanasati starts to stabilise, one can be aware without thought. Continue to relax and maintain awareness then one will experience mindfulness of long breath leading to calmness, peacefulness and piti. Piti is a type of spiritual joy or rapture. Continue to Relax and maintain awareness, the piti will become more and more refined until one experience sukham. Sukham is a more refined state of piti termed spiritual bliss; a long breath accompanied by bliss & every breath is very clear. Continue to Relax into all mind states and maintain awareness until spiritual bliss also becomes very fine and breath becomes shorter and shorter till finally mind has little or no movement at all. Mind will then enter passaddhi, which is the tranquillity of mind, stillness of mind. That is your silent mid, your true mind, the mind that can meditate, understand and awaken to truth.
So develop Anapanasati until there is no more breathing, no more movement of the breath. One should do the same with other object of meditation. Awareness of the breath must becomes so subtle and so refine until passaddhi arise and if one continue to maintain awareness, this passaddhi will stabilise, then mind enters sati. When mind is in sati, everything can be experienced with sati; all your hearing will be in sati, smell, taste, tactile and thought process etc. – all will be in sati. Practically no thought, just aware. At this stage during the formal meditation, don’t create anymore thinking (like noting sitting, touching etc.) Just silent everything and don’t do anything; maintain inner peace, inner awareness within. Stay with the subtle breathing. Initially it is as if there is no more breathing but later on the subtle internal breathing will be detected as one’s mindfulness become more refine. As mind enters sati, mindfulness becomes more refined and stable. It can detect all the subtle breathing and movements. The slightest movements are like magnified into distinct, clear movements. Stay there until the silent mind stabilizes, like ever mindful and always in the meditative state. Any movement and activity is magnified. All pain is gone. Mind in sati can do away with all feelings and sensations. The mind that has entered sati, tranquillity and stillness of mind has the ability to relax into every mind states that arise and feel no pain and very relax most of the time. It will then has to ability to develop the below understanding:
Try to maintain the trained mind states of inner peace and awareness for as long as you can. You have to carry these mind states over into your daily life, so that you can be constantly aware and mindful in the midst of life. With daily mindfulness stabilized your meditation will progress very fast.
How to develop the stability of daily mindfulness?
Have a good religious routine. Train the mind to develop the 5 spiritual faculties and anapanasati until they are very stable. Maintain mindfulness from within (at heart area) throughout the day until one is ever mindful and mind has entered sati leading to passaddhi. Mind will then be in the state of clarity to see clearly to develop the initial wisdom borne of 1st and 2nd turnings. With the initial wisdom developed your wrong views will be straightened. This awareness with understanding will help you develop more and more moments of peace and silence within while living life. With more moments of awareness, peace and silence there will be more space between thoughts then your daily mindfulness will stabilize and become more continuous leading to a stable sati sampajanna.
Sati sampajanna can only arise after you have the initial wisdom developed as explained clearly in the Avijja Sutta. Without the initial wisdom borne of 1st and 2nd turning developed through constant contemplation, reflection and hearing of the Dharma you can never straighten your wrong views.
Reflect on the 5 daily contemplations as taught by Buddha until you can understand the deep essential Dharma clearly.
The first three contemplations are: ‘this body of ours is of the nature to grow old, get sick and die for it has not gone beyond birth, old age, sickness and death’. What does it mean? How come they use the words ‘this body of mine’? Does it really belong to you? This body is impermanent. It goes the way of nature. It is not you. According to condition it gets old, sick and dies. Consciousness will separate from it because it is not you. It is dependent originating, condition arising, a causal phenomenon. It has its nature’s condition to fulfil and goes the way of nature. When you start to contemplate and reflect, you start to understand why this body is not me. It is made of elements. Without the consciousness, without the awareness, it can never be me. Elements go the way of nature, following nature’s law. Everything decays. When condition is not right, it will develop disease or sickness. When neglected, it will also give problem. When condition is such, it will separate. You call it death. But what is death? Who dies? What dies? No one dies.
When you meditate, you understand – death occurs when the consciousness separates from the form. When the 3 conditions that sustains the arising of the 5 aggregates of form and mind, the so-called human being separates. When any of these conditions cease, it will cease to be.
What are the 3 supporting conditions? They are:
The 5 aggregates of form and mind is karmically conditioned from our karmic nature for us to come to this existential world to experience life, to live life and to animate into a human being. It is subject to karma and it is not you because it is not a permanent unchanging entity. It is dependent originating and sustained by the above 3 supporting conditions.
Reflect on the 4th daily contemplation: ‘Whatever things you think you owned, your loved ones, your wealth, properties, cars and other prized possessions etc. that you hold on dearly, they are never yours. They either separate from you when conditions cease to be or when your identity is erased when your breath stopped. The Buddha says the reality is: ‘they are all dependent originating and condition arising entities. When condition is there, it appears, arises and it is as if it really belongs to you. But when condition ceases to be, it will separate from you. Separation is a reality’. If you cannot understand this or you cannot accept this reality then you will suffer because when you want things your way which is not nature’s way, suffering will be the end result. You then start to see the universal characteristics of impermanent and suffering clearly. The form goes the way of nature. Nature shows you what impermanence is all about. Decay leading to sickness and death. When conditions cease to be, things will cease to be. When you can’t even own your own form and mind, which is dependent originating, how can you own other things. That is real delusion. This 4th contemplation is very important and very powerful in developing the penetrative understanding of life.
The 5th contemplation: ‘Each and every one of us, we are all born of our karma, heir to our karma, conditioned and supported by our karma and we are what we are because of our karma’ is the most powerful and most important because the law of karma is the first right view you must have in order to understand life. Since each and every one of us, we are all born of our karma, heir to our karma, conditioned and supported by our karma and we are what we are because of our karma and because of that we must take care of karma!
Buddha says whatever that arises there are causes and conditions behind. 5th contemplation is such that our life is dependent entirely on karma, 100%. So we have to pay special attention to this law of karma. This nature’s law works based on certain principles that Buddha had explained. It is cetana or mental intention that dictates karma. Reason why Dhammapada verses 1 and 2 – have this opening statement: ‘our mind is the forerunner of all things. Mind is chief and when mind arises, everything arises. ….’
The essential dharma and the 5 daily contemplations can give rise to much wisdom.
You reap what you sow and do good begets good. If you plant the seed of evil, you reap the fruit of evil. If you plant the seed of wholesomeness, you reap the fruit of wholesomeness. This is the law of karma.
Out of compassion for us the Buddha asked us to keep the precepts because precepts are major training rules introduced to prevent you from breaking major evil that can result in severe karmic negativity. If you break any of the precepts, karmic fruitions (major consequences) can be very severe.
Understanding why the 5 precepts are major evils:
Since keeping the 5 precepts can protect you from evil that is the reason why the all Buddha advice living beings, to avoid all evils. How to avoid evils? Keep the precepts. How to keep the precepts? You must understand what constitute evil. You must have mindfulness to see the mental intentions behind, all your subtle greed, subtle selfishness, emotions, cravings, possessiveness, clinging, grasping, attachment to things, envy, jealousy, fear and phobia etc. All these are wrong thoughts, mind states with the evil roots. When you understand them, you will be very mindful of them and very sensitive towards them. Mindfulness can prevent you from violating all these precepts. It can give rise to clarity of mind. Mind becomes clear, fully aware, mindful and sensitive to the slightest movement of evil. When you can feel them with understanding, then it cannot arise. You had become so sensitive. You can then rejoice in wholesomeness and goodness only.
The advices of the Buddha are: i) to avoid all evils, through keeping the precepts; ii) to cultivate wholesomeness and iii) to purify one’s mind via developing mindfulness leading to heedfulness to cultivate Noble 8-Fold Path (N8FP). From right views, develop right thought, right speech, right actions and right livelihood. To do this, you need the 4 right efforts (which are still thought based cultivation) to constantly purify your thought processes. After that, you don’t use thought anymore. Develop right mindfulness and right Samadhi to insight into truth and awaken. Mindfulness is the silent mind, just aware before the knowing to understand.
With Sati and Samadhi, you see things as they are clearly without the distortion from our memory and brain’s conditioning, including its views & opinions, etc. The true mind sees things as they are and awaken; it does not perceive things with negativity borne of inappropriate memory of fear, phobias, worry and insecurity.
What is memory? Memory = accumulation of experiences good and bad. They are mainly your psychological rubbish, wrong views and opinions, belief system and some good and important memories. To remember important facts, like your name, addresses, bank signature etc. you need memories especially mechanical memories. To develop technological skills, knowledge and information, you need to use thought and memory but the brain is not for us to accumulate psychological memories of fear, phobias, insecurity, scars of memories and other negative emotions that have the evil roots. Therefore ‘acting according to memory is not acting at all’ because psychological memories are accumulation of all your wrong thoughts of fear, phobias, insecurities, sadness, sorrow, lamentation, selfishness and various unhappy moments, etc. (Including how people had cheated you and how you had cheated others). All these create psychological memories that are detrimental to the individual who doesn’t have the wisdom. Memory pre-empts you to act selfishly according to your insecurity and fear, borne of thinking that they may harm, cheat or take advantage of you.
Why can’t you see things as they are? Accept people for what they are. Then you are at peace.
Acting according to memory is not acting at all because acting according to memory implies acting according to one’s thoughts, fear, phobias, selfishness, views, opinions and conditioning etc. to create division, misunderstanding, conflict and sufferings. The reason being thoughts divide through words, concepts and ideas.
Then how should you act? We should instead Act with wisdom and understanding following N8FP.
With the silent mind in daily mindfulness, you can see through your wrong views. How via self-delusion (sakayaditthi) your mind stir because of your selfishness, emotions and fear. All these self-delusion and your wrong thoughts come from memories borne of your conditionings and wrong views. These wrong thoughts condition your fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation, insecurities and phobias etc. Thoughts are response from memories accumulated in the brain. There is no peace because you lack faith; you lack confident, you are restless and doubtful. All these mental hindrances will arise. Don’t fight it and don’t try to suppress or control it. Instead develop the opposite 5 spiritual faculties to counter them.
Don’t suppress anger. Don’t tell yourself anger is an evil root therefore I must not get angry, I must “Yan” (or maintain patient) – this is not patience. That is suppression. Without wisdom that is not patience endurance. Khanti is patience endurance with wisdom.
How can I act with wisdom? If I don’t violate the law of karma (following Dhammapada verse 2), I’m more at peace because I will have less karmic negativity. But this alone cannot free the mind. Without wisdom you cannot overcome the 1st Noble truth realities of birth, old age, sickness and death, separation, attachment and cravings. This requires wisdom to liberate. What must you develop? Develop wisdom to straighten your views to bring about less delusion, more understanding to see the mind. The 2nd right view is to see how you function as a human being following the 12 links (law of dependent origination); how thinking and mental proliferation arise.
1st two links are: avijja paccaya sankhara (I. e. ignorance conditions thinking/mental activities). Due to ignorance you want to know. Wanting to know you think. Thinking gives rise to mind or mental contact with the brain where the thoughts arise. The brain, upon contact arises mental consciousness following the physics experiment analogy. At the moment of seeing, there is only the seeing consciousness arising. No one to see as yet. You are not able to be aware of all these because you do not have the stability of mindfulness.
The 12 links are: Avijja paccaya sankhara, sankhara paccaya vinnanam, vinnana paccaya namarupam, …… I.e. because of ignorance you think the wrong thoughts that conditioned your fear, worries and anxiety, etc. especially when confronted with health and other life problems. When you make contact with the brain through thinking, then just like the physic experiment, the light bulb lights up upon contact. You become conscious (vinnanam). Take for example at the moment of seeing, you become conscious of what you see. But there is no one to see. It is just the seeing consciousness. When sakayaditti or Self-delusion comes in, the egoic mind inputs the wrong content of consciousness via its wrong views. Before the content goes in, it is just a pure consciousness or pure awareness. The seeing consciousness has no content when it is before the perception before the words, before your memory perceives it, before your views and opinions create the movement. Without wisdom, avijja or ignorance contact will condition ignorant reaction to sense experience. This will cause you to input the wrong content of consciousness, with selfishness that comes from the ego (atta) because you believe you are real when you identify with the form & mind, the human being as the ‘me’ and the ‘I’. The moment you say I see, you associate with seeing, your views, opinions and conditioning come in. Your thought will project and pre-empt you. ‘I must not allow this guy to do this to me. I don’t know this guy, a stranger. Why must I help him? Nowadays many scams around’. Such insecurities, phobias, etc. straight away prevent you from acting correctly.
This content of consciousness that went into the vinnanam giving rise to the 5 mental aggregates of form & mind. Without the wisdom at this stage, you can never act with wisdom. You will act according to your views, opinions and conditioning.
What is wisdom? Wisdom is an understanding and yoniso manasikara is the initial wisdom, or wise attention at the moment of sense experience. We need this initial wisdom to act. When there is initial wisdom, it will surface and prompt you before you input of the content of consciousness from your memories and conditioning. Take for example health problem. The daily contemplation initial wisdom will come in. It will recall – ‘this body of ours is of the nature to decay, get sick and die. It is a common reality applicable to all humanity, not only me. If I accept this reality I’m at peace. I do what I have to do. Need to see a doctor to seek medical advice, do it. Later on if you need to have a 2nd opinion, go ahead and seek it. I won’t foolishly project my thought to develop the unnecessary fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation. This sankhara that conditions the input of content of consciousness will not have the delusion to project and brings about the wrong thoughts borne of wrong views, to condition our sufferings. All these will cease to be. This is what I mean by, I act with understanding because this body goes the way of nature.
Like a car. Is the car you? Definitely not you but you think you own it. This body is karmically conditioned out for you to come to this existential world. In a way it is connected to you but this form & mind is impermanent and not you. Finally anatta, non-self, empty nature of existence. When consciousness is trapped inside, that thing is as real as it can be. Since it is subject to karma, with understanding you will know how to act with right duty and use it appropriately. If the car is not me and when there is accident or damage due to wear and tear (decay) over the years, what do I do? Send to a good mechanic to fix it. Not need to lament, get angry or whatever because all these are wrong thoughts, unnecessary emotions that are stressful and not useful because it cannot solve our problem. This body, like a vehicle, if it has problem, seek advice and treatment. If it is beyond treatment or economical repair (serious damage), do you want to repair? Too expensive and not worth well to repair. Don’t go for expensive medical service without understanding. Mind, body medicine – so treat mind first. With less fear, worry, and anxiety (negative mind states), your immune system will recover. If full of fear, worry, anxiety and other phobias (negative field energy), it will cause your cells to mutate, immune system to go down thereby giving rise to chronic disease. Without mental health, physical health will deteriorate. The body is just a body, not you. You must reflect and contemplate to have the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom so that you will know how to act with wisdom.
Avijja sutta (the sutta on ignorance that the Buddha taught) explained clearly how deluded people suffer. There are 2 sequences to it. The ignorant sequence – explains how deluded people fall and the enlightenment sequence – explains how enlightenment can be developed if one follows the avijja sutta’s 10 steps cultivation leading to enlightenment. ( to refer to the Sunday outline short notes dated 12/5/2019 for full details)
The Enlightenment sequence is very important. The 10 steps cultivation leading to enlightenment are:
1st step: Have good Kalyanamitta (dharma friends);
2nd step: Listening to the True Dhamma;
3rd step: Faith in the Triple Gem;
Bro Teoh reviewed the last Thursday class outline Short Notes dated 9 May 2019. Please read the short notes for further details.
(Above outline short notes draft is by Sister Han Poh Cheng)
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Bro Teoh reviewed the outline short notes last Thursday (2 May 2019). He emphasized the importance of faith in one’s spiritual journey. If we have a stable daily mindfulness, we can benefit more from spiritual trips as we are able to draw in nature’s energy and vibration. The silent mind which is extraordinary sensitive will be able to detect any subtle mental movement or stirring while in the midst of living life. The moment the mind stirs, the awareness can detect it there and then. One can then see the pending arising of any negativity of mind state. Later on with wisdom developed it can prevent them from arising thereby rooting them out.
If we can trace the origination factors of such mind states through mindfulness, wisdom will arise. The initial wisdom, yoniso manasikara (borne of the first and second turnings) will enable us to straighten our views. Such mind will not react and stir like before because there is deeper understanding of the dhamma then the phenomenal world will cease to have power over us. So only the power of awareness/mindfulness leading to wisdom can bring about real transformation. Theoretical dhamma borne of memory is not effective.
By staying silent and maintaining awareness (without the need to think), we can see things as they are without the interference of thoughts and memory to condition us into reaction of mind. The free mind in silent awareness can awaken and insight into phenomena. It is not a person doing this but it is the understanding borne of direct seeing (insight) through the silent mind that brings about such realization.
With this realization there will be further straightening of our views, the mind then becomes even more sensitive to see the subtle movements (cravings) within. Most deluded human beings would stir their minds when things don’t go their way, reacting and hitting out at others. This realization enables us to understand that everything is dependent originating and condition-arising and there is no one behind all these happenings.
With this realization, we start to understand the deep meaning of the Buddha’s advice on: ‘whatever that arises, there are causes and conditions behind.’ So things are just the way they are following nature’s laws. It can’t be otherwise. If we want things our way, which is not nature’s way we will suffer. When we can accept the reality of the moment, we can also accept things, people or situations as they are. This is wisdom.
We must reflect on this until it becomes very clear in our minds. This initial wisdom will enable us to be more at peace without its habitual stirring, reacting or mental chattering. Whatever mind states that arise, just aware, then the mind will be quieter with more moments of awareness and much less sankhara or heedless thinking.
However, if we lack this heedfulness, the usual wrong perception, views, opinions and conditioning will condition the evil roots to project the wrong thoughts, one after another. This is how deluded human beings suffer. With this initial wisdom, we will have more and more moments of peace, awareness and space between thoughts to arise a stable daily mindfulness to realize sati sampajanna (mindfulness and clear comprehension).
With a very stable daily mindfulness borne of yoniso manasikara, sati sampajanna will arise leading to sense restraint. With sense restraint, the three ways of right conducts will arise automatically. If one does not follow all these steps as listed in the Avijja sutta, there is no way for one to proceed to cultivate the four foundations of mindfulness effectively because without the initial wisdom leading to the stable daily mindfulness to see clearly, one will be doing mainly thought-based meditation (which is a waste of time).
Under the Avijja Sutta, the Buddha has listed out clearly that if you cultivate the four foundations of mindfulness after you have developed the initial wisdom, sati sampajanna, sense restraints and 3 ways of right conducts, then the seven factors of enlightenment will keep on arising. This will confirm that you are on the right path. But if you cultivate within the field of thought, you can never progress or awaken.
Jeff Oliver attended Bro Teoh’s last Thursday class. According to Bro Teoh for them to meet, there must be affinity, causes and conditions. This applies to everything else because nothing happens on its own without affinity, causes and conditions. This includes the 2 gentlemen (Bro Richard and Bro Danny) who joined our recent March Cameron Highlands Meditation Retreat for the first time. Especially Bro Danny who must have his past because he is very happy, full of faith and joy throughout the retreat and the sharing of the Heart Sutra by Bro Teoh really touched his heart. It is therefore important that we learn to cultivate affinity with The Triple Gem and true kalyanamittas. When we plant good conditions, we are developing our parami and wholesomeness.
As we develop more virtues, we become less heedless and more mindful because true virtue can only arise when there is wisdom. With wisdom we hardly think but remain just silent, aware and sensitive most of the time and we will continue to make progress in our cultivation. Without wisdom, there is no real love and compassion because all virtues come from wisdom. Without wisdom, we are only using words.
The teaching by Master Hui Neng on: no mark of a self cultivating, no mark of living beings and no mark of dhamma and life, can be realized if we cultivate sincerely. To do this one must connect to one’s true nature (true mind) first. The understanding that arises need not be remembered because wisdom is not knowledge.
Bro Teoh shared how his last guide helped shorten his spiritual cultivation this life by at least 10 to 15 years. He was then only 35 years old. It came to his realization that it was one of his very unique vow that helped to arise the causes and conditions for him to meet up with his last guide. He related how he initially refused to meet his last guide on five occasions. Normally, if the signs came for him to act, he would act after the second or third sign. But somehow, this time he waited till the sixth sign came, then he knew he had to meet up with this guide.
Bro Teoh drove three hours with Mrs Teoh to Genting Highlands to meet his last guide. Somehow, when they shook hands, they seemed to understand each other. The guide told him he teaches only four things – Relax, Aware, 24/7 and Trust. Bro Teoh had done the first three. So when the guide asked Bro Teoh if he trust him, the answer was `yes’. Bro Teoh was asked to sit down and when his guide put his hand about two inches from Bro Teoh’s heart, Bro Teoh could straight away detect the very fine pure energy activating the ‘gateway’ to his nature and amazingly, all the yin yang energies ‘melted’ into it. Bro Teoh went into stillness without thought straight away. Bro Teoh immediately knew what that ‘gateway’ was and he just know what to do via trust.
Those doing thought-based meditation can never understand. During their conversation, the guide used the analogy of cultivators moving at a slow pace – like the slow steam engine train as compared to those riding on a bullet train. But for that to be possible, the mindfulness must be very stable.
Sister PG related her own experience of how she went for a walk in the park at Mont Kiara. She had to cross the metal suspension bridge which has a stretch of BRC in the middle. She had been reluctant to walk through it in the past. But this time, she inquired – why she had this fear? She realized it came from her past wrong perception. She decided to walk through it so as to develop the understanding to overcome her fear of height.
Bro Teoh explained that it was her memory that conditioned her phobia. Though what Sister PG had done was commendable, it would be even better if in future, she can find out what happens when there is awareness and sensitivity within. Even if there is fear, stay with it and see what happens. When one can witness the ceasing of the conditioned arising fear, it develops wisdom. The mind then understand, fear is never you because it is dependent originating. Through contemplation, one will realize that fear is a thought projection which is not a reality. Similarly, for other negative mind states or emotions, one can use the same approach of staying with the emotion or negative mind state and investigate with the silent awareness. When the awareness is with the sensation, suffering cannot arise. Instead, wisdom that arises from that experience will help us understand life well. Similarly, if one has pain due to sickness or a disease, this understanding will enable one to endure the pain and the mind can still be peaceful. If one has to seek treatment, it is done with understanding and not through fear, worry and anxiety. Sometimes, nature’s energy and a meditative mind can heal one of diseases.
Bro Teoh said, what Sister PG used was a contemplative inquiry and not using the 3rd and 4th meditative way. Unless one goes through these 3rd and 4th meditative ways (with silent awareness), the real penetrative understanding cannot arise. A thought recalling an earlier thought (like anger or fear) is not sati. According to J. Krishnamurti, `the very flowering of thought is the very ending of it.’ Our wrong views and self-delusion have conditioned craving to arise giving rise to such emotions. All these mind states are dependent-originating so by not giving them any meaning or power to move, they will cease to be.
Only the daily mindfulness can transform us. When there is awareness with the silent mind, we can eventually connect to the true mind. The real meditation is not about sitting but to go into the mindfulness of the four postures and all movements in the present moment. Without doing this, one cannot be heedful in the midst of life to awaken to the truth following Dhammapada verses 21, 22 and 23.
(Above draft outline short notes are prepared by Puan Chee)
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Bro Teoh related how beautiful their recent spiritual trip to Guiyang, China was. The Kalyanamittas who participated in the trip visited the way place of Sakyamuni Buddha and Maitreya Buddha. Sister Angie also mentioned that the trip has brought her more understanding about how the mind can affect the body.
Bro Teoh affirmed this by saying that when one’s faith is strong, we do not get tired despite the long hours of hiking and walking. Surprisingly, those who went could even sit and meditate for about 45 minutes after the hectic climb/schedule at the Golden Buddha temple nearby. Besides they were not sleepy while travelling on the bus for more than 2 hours. After that they also managed to listen attentively during the night dharma sharing with Bro Teoh until about 10.30pm that night. Some of them were also wide awake while sleeping that night because of the rather strong collective spiritual energy felt. According to Bro Teoh, if one has the faith, stillness and silence within, one can constantly harness and draw nature’s pristine spiritual energy of the places they have visited. Coupled with saddha, this will spur cultivators on to cultivate.
With the arising of the five spiritual faculties and having the consistent heedfulness, the steadfast one will soon realize the born-free supreme enlightenment, Nibbana following Dhammapada verse 23. This cultivation springs forth from a free mind which is ever mindful and rather sensitive to see clearly all the subtle cravings within their mind states. Such a mind is so sensitive that it can see the habitual tendencies that constantly arise and cause suffering to the heedless via their own self-delusion while living life.
The mundane mind (which is mainly thoughts) cannot realize the truth. Hence, cultivators who use memory and dharma knowledge to seek truth will fail to realize truth because truth is beyond thoughts and time. One should instead cultivate with the silent mind to arise the wisdom via the direct seeing to free one’s mind from self-delusion or sakayaditti. The silent mind which is just awareness without any thought is your true mind.
Bro Teoh further emphasized the importance of cultivating the Buddha dharma with understanding especially understanding what constitute evil and wrong thoughts. If you continue to have wrong thoughts through heedless living (lack of mindfulness) it will condition your suffering because such wrong thoughts are thoughts that have the evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion which will make you evil. As a consequence of this, it will condition your fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation, envy, jealousy, remorse, phobias, insecurities, selfishness and other emotional negativities which are all negative mind states that can lead to severe suffering and affliction of mind.
Thought is like a tool to help us live and experience life to the fullest but instead we use it to harm ourselves and hit out at others via arising the wrong and harmful evil thoughts instead of right and wholesome thoughts. It is like the simile of using a knife to hurt ourselves and others instead of using it appropriately to cut fruits, vegetables and shape things.
We hold the key to our life’s destiny. To be happy or unhappy is entirely our choice so choose wisely. Always choose to be happy and peaceful. But then why are most people still not peaceful and happy.
We should constantly reflect and contemplate the 1st Noble truth’s 8 realities of life and existence. It is only through wisdom that we will not be deceived by the phenomenal world. By grasping deludedly to the five aggregates of form and mind, we will suffer. The simile of holding onto a glass of hot water thinking it is my problem and I have to solve it is a very good example because in doing that we will hurt ourselves through delusion. If we use wisdom to approach the issue or so-called problem then we will not hold on to it because it is tormenting and burning us. Then we are at peace and we will have clarity of mind to investigate on the best options to take. Hence, having the right view to understand nature’s conditions is crucial for us to develop this wisdom. Learn to see things as they are and resolve all things amicably via following the Noble 8-Fold Path. Reflecting on the five daily contemplations as mentioned by the Buddha will keep us more connected to reality and not be deluded by wrong thoughts.
Avijja or ignorance will cause us to project the wrong thoughts (fear, worry and anxiety) to harm ourselves and those around us. By doing so, the cells in our body can mutate and cause diseases too. So, having good mind states can lead to mental well-being and good physical health. Fear, worry and anxiety cannot help you.
Bro Teoh reminded us to have right view leading to right thought. It is helpful to keep in mind the four right efforts: to abandon the unwholesome mind states, prevent the arising of unwholesome mind states, arise wholesome thoughts, refine upon and perfect on such wholesome thoughts. By following the advice of the Buddha to do good and avoid all evil will gradually change our mind states from unwholesome to wholesome.
What constitute evil? They are not just words but we have to understand how craving can cause the evil roots (greed, hatred, delusion) to be so powerful that we suffer as a consequence of it. Cultivation will enable us to see our subtle craving and how the past conditioning has gone into our memory making us react so habitually to life. If we can’t see what is happening within our minds, we will never understand the world.
Clinging onto the wrong thoughts will condition us to suffer again and again. The 3rd way is to approach it via the meditative way following the pool of water analogy (as used by the Buddha). When we allow the negative mind state to settle on its own without further stirring the mind (the simile of allowing the dirt in the glass of water to subside), we begin to understand our own minds. By observing silently with awareness, we see how the mind state (which is dependent-originating) arises and ceases. This silent observation leads to wisdom.
To further strengthen this wisdom, retrospectively trace the origination factor. The deluded mind stirs upon contact through the six sense bases thus arising the defilements. Through mindful observation, reflection and contemplation, wisdom will arise and we can then retrospectively reverse it via straightening our views.
In short, it is due to self-delusion that conditions us to cling onto the five aggregates thinking this is me, this is I and all these are mine. Hence, straightening our views to see things as they are is of utmost importance.
With right view, we can accept things, people and situations for what they are. Then there is peace within, we can then have the mental clarity to act accordingly with understanding. This right view can bring about right thought. Suttamaya Panna will lead to Cintamaya Panna and eventually Bhavanamaya Panna (3 types of wisdom borne of listening, wise reflection and realization through cultivation).
The real meditation begins when we can stabilize the understanding through constant contemplation and having the meditative awareness to cultivate the daily mindfulness while in the midst of life. It is not about sitting and having good mental states. Wisdom keeps on arising as one continues to insight into phenomena. The five mental hindrances will cease when the 5 opposite spiritual faculties are established.
Sister Angie asked Bro Jeff about how to free ourselves from karma due to past lives. Bro Jeff said Bro Teoh had answered them in many ways tonight and must have done so in the past too. Bro Jeff said for whatever karma that is happening now, we have to be aware by acknowledging it. There is no way we can change the past so we are experiencing the effect of the past in the present. By acknowledging it and accepting the present moment, we can observe whatever that is arising with a clear mind. When the dissolution happens, wisdom will arise.
If such a situation arises again, we will know what to do. So, it is a daily life practice and not just doing sitting meditation. So it is about living and learning with mindfulness through our daily life experiences. Then Life itself is the meditation. We will appreciate it when annoying people or annoying circumstances appear in our lives. We take care of our own karma and leave the rest to take care of theirs. We do not have to perpetuate our own karma by reacting. We watch karma unfolding naturally without further reaction.
Bro Teoh further explained how people can root out all these karmic repercussions by breaking their karmic obstructions first then resolving all these karmic issues amicably. Asking for forgiveness, seeking repentance from the Triple Gems and others, vow not to repeat such karmic negativity via avoiding all evil, cultivating wholesomeness and purifying the mind then invoke the power of merits to arise the causes and conditions for the turn around to resolve all these karmic issues amicably are ways that can help us root it out.
(Above draft short notes are prepared by Puan Chee)
|Teoh Thu 190418||
Sister Tammy reported her meditation. She was aware of her body’s sensations (heat building up) and thoughts. She was also aware that her body moved (like spinning).
Brother Teoh explained that when you feel heat or movement, it is due to the energy built-up inside. Regarding the heat it is actually due to the yin and yang imbalance. Sometimes it is just a test to see whether you are affected by it. Thus do not be deceived. Whatever state that arises, just relax into it and maintain awareness. Relax and silent your mind and let things be. Understand that when your sati is not stable these movements can happen. Those who do or practice Reiki, their body has a tendency to shake due to the energy built-up.
Sati leading to heedfulness needs to be established during meditation. Understanding the meditation as taught by the Buddha is most important. Do not doubt. Relax and stabilize the awareness, then go back to the heart. Swaying will eventually stop when awareness has stabilized. Do not create any mental hindrances (especially the likes and dislikes).
During meditation, there will be different experiences and states of mind that arise. You need the skill to understand what meditation is and what you are doing in the name of meditation. You need to be heedful and develop the understanding of who and what are you. Also to see clearly that all these movements (physical, mental and nature’s) are all dependent originating and condition arising phenomena. In pure awareness you can see all this.
Brother Teoh shared his experience 30 years ago, when he was just aware at the heart area without any thought then all of a sudden he realized there was no one inside there. It is just an awareness from the nature arising and passing away, awareness is one with the heart beats.
Thoughts are response from memory hence they are condition arising/dependent originating, nothing to do with the nature. Understanding comes by itself through the silent mind. You are the awareness which is beyond all these creation. All of your knowing is mainly thought based knowledge, accumulated as memory, not the reality. Reality is when your awareness sees and experiences all this and you are able to be with it and sees the whole movements without fragmentation to awaken.
When the silent mind in pure awareness is with all phenomena, it can awaken via an understanding which is not rigid. After this only can you relate to the teachings. Not the other way round. The other way round is to read the teachings and go look for those mind states mentioned in the teaching, believing you are in those states. All these are thought based meditation. Dharma in written form are merely words pointing to the truth. It is not the truth itself. Thus you cannot use words and concepts to realize the truth which is beyond thought and mind. Instead you need to meditate via sati (the silent mind without thoughts and concepts) to awaken.
Thought is for you to use. When you awaken you will understand that your 5 aggregates of body and mind is subject to karma because it is Karmically conditioned from your karmic nature. Hence you will also understand that you have to have right duty to take care of karma even though the true unconditioned dharma is about emptiness; I.e. hey no you and hey no me, no form, no mind. You need the understanding of both the conditioned and unconditioned dharma to truly live life.
Once you are able to locate your gateway to your nature, all the yin yang energy will melt into it to become pure energy.
There are people who go into occult (pure psychic) energy practices and use it for healing and performing psychic ability. Since only wisdom and understanding frees the mind, nothing else so being involved in energy field does not free. With awareness based meditation leading to wisdom, you can also avoid threading on the evil or wrong path.
There are 2 ways to cultivate the Bodhisattva way: one way is to develop the wisdom first; then locate the gateway to our nature to speed up our cultivation. The other way is to make use of the pure energy to locate the gateway first then only use it to develop the wisdom leading to all the other perfection. Without wisdom developed via the dhamma make available during the Buddha sasana or from a good guide (teacher), it is very difficult to go the wisdom way first. Similarly without the help of a true guide or a good teacher, it is also very difficult to develop the understanding of the gateway cultivation which is beyond thought and time. But the first way is safer because the wisdom will protect the cultivator from going into the occult or psychic fields. (For more detail please do listen to the recording to develop the complete understanding. Especially the part relating to my last teacher and what is captured in this outline short notes is just a small part of what has been shared.)
Brother Teoh further explained his last teacher’s meditation. If you do not know how to silent your mind to locate or realize your nature which takes you straight to the No thought state, you tend to go for thought based meditation which cannot lead you to the truth which is beyond thought. It is very difficult unless you have a good teacher. Even with a good teacher, it takes time for you to build up the confidence. The Six Patriarch Platform teaching helps you to understand this. For one to realize the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non self states is already very difficult if not for the Buddha’s teachings within this sasana because it involves understanding of truths within conditioned and unconditioned.
Thought is both matter and energy (E = mc2). Matter is trapped energy. Thus thought based is related to energy field. Since thought is also matter so without thought, form will not come about. Since Form is the product of thought therefore thought can see form because thought has higher intelligence. But thought cannot see awareness because thought is a product of spacious awareness. Thus awareness has higher intelligence then thought.
Theoretical dhamma are mainly concept and ideas. Theoretical dhamma has nothing to do with the direct seeing via the silent mind in pure awareness. You can awaken with this pure awareness which is beyond thought and beyond mind. Hence strive on with heedfulness. The moment you are heedful, you are destined for enlightenment. Daily mindfulness leading to heedfulness is a must. Meditate with sati to see your defilements and to realize the essential dhamma leading to wisdom.
When you are mindful of all mind states, you will understand how your wrong thoughts (with the 3 evil roots) which arise due to your deluded and conditioned mundane mind (borne of accumulation and memories of the good and bad experiences) can cause your negative emotions leading to suffering. You will also understand how all these wrong thoughts and negative emotion (like anger, hatred, envy, jealousy, trapped phobias and insecurity, etc.) condition your fear, worry, anxiety, selfishness, sorrow and lamentation etc. leading to suffering.
It should be the awareness which is aware of the thoughts and emotions by being one with it and not via another thought knowing an earlier thought or emotion like anger, fear, worry, anxiety, etc. For example, aware when fear arises. When fear arises, stay with it and see clearly what happens when you are just aware (be with it) and don’t do anything. What happen to that movement or emotion? Fear will cease to be then you will understand Fear was never you but just a condition arising or dependent originating phenomenon. It arises due to conditions (ones delusion or wrong view) then when condition cease to be it cease to be. It arises and passes away depending on condition hence impermanent and empty. Relax and aware and you will understand all this. All these condition arising mental states will disappears and cease to be because the original state of the true mind before its stirring is just pure awareness and there is none of this fear. It all comes about due to one’s wrong view conditioning ones wrong thoughts leading to one’s reaction of mind.
Brother Teoh’s daughter shared her earlier experience (before she understands the dhamma): After making a donation, the thought of being cheated arise in her mind for some time. She then recalled the advice from a previous dhamma sharing by Bro Teoh – “why this thought and not any other thought.” It made her investigate further into the suffering that arise due to this wrong thought. She realized that she was attached to the feeling – ‘I got cheated’ due to memory and thought. She then inquire: Who is it that has all this negative thoughts? Is this her? She started to experiment with her mind. When she changed her perspective to think positively she realized her suffering was gone. They may be sincere and even if they are not sincere, it is because they need my money. Moreover what happened is already over why cling on to that wrong thought of ‘I have been cheated’? They will have their karma. She then realized her mundane mind really controlled her when she think that wrong thought. It was like holding to that red hot burning thing that was tormenting her.
Instead of acting with wisdom, you allow your wrong thought to condition you to act negatively. On the other hand, with right view, you can trust your karma. After all it is not what you think; it is just a form and mind meeting another form and mind due to karmic conditioning.
You need wisdom to root out insecurity. All is subject to karma. Karma creates the thought to project into the future causing you to feel insecure. You need to take care of karma, in turn karma takes care of you. With wisdom, understand that it is just form and mind and thoughts arise and pass away following the 12 links. Always remember only self-delusion can cause you to have such negative mind states leading to misery.
Eric’s sharing: “some learns the dharma but do not practice because they thought they know already. This is dharma knowledge. But for me I learn and I put into practice what I have learnt.” He went through suffering, experienced them until he understands them deeply. Just like the burning hot charcoal analogy, if you know how it has been burning and tormenting you when you keep holding it, you will never touch it again.
Fear, worry and anxiety cannot solve your problems but only conditions more negative karma in your life. Instead you need wholesome mental states borne of right views to give rise to good emotions coupled with faith to transform you into a beautiful being. Also understanding the 1st Noble truth’s 8 realities of life is very important because under the 2nd turning of the 1st Noble truth, it is stated that suffering is to be understood.
You live a beautiful life through the dharma way i.e. following eightfold noble path. By developing inward beauty, your nature is beautiful and you will have right view, right thoughts, right speech, right action and livelihood, this leads to inward transformation. When inside is okay, outer no problem.
When you understand the noble truth, you understand suffering. You are heedful and able to apply what you learn. When negativity arise, you are aware of your wrong thoughts, you understand they are impermanent, condition arising wrong thoughts borne of self-delusion. Thus the mind releases and is not deceived. You need to contemplate when it happens. This way is suitable for those who suffer a lot. When you are aware of all these negative mind states conditioning your suffering you can retrospectively reverse them with the understanding, this itself is meditation. Awareness is very important.
Meditation in daily life: any thoughts or emotions that arise, be aware (silent) and stay with it, eventually they all cease to be. Only true nature is real. No point clinging and grasping which only cause unnecessary suffering. You will understand that the body and mind is merely a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for you to come to this existential world, hence use it well. You cannot control the form and mind from going the way of nature because it is dependent originating and not a permanent unchanging entity which you can call the ‘Me’ and the ‘I’.
(Outline short notes prepare by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190411||
Brother Teoh encouraged kalyanamittas to report their meditation as by reporting you can be guided in your understanding and others can learn too. When you can be mindful and heedful throughout the day, it can help you settle down very fast during your formal meditation. Anapanasati is developed very fast too. It is normal for thoughts to arise if you still have mental hindrances but if you are aware of them through understanding you will not be affected by it or drawn into it. Just let things be and relax then the thoughts will slow down until mind returns to its original state of silent inner awareness.
Sister Eng Bee reported her meditation as follows: during sitting her mind was clear and she was mindful and aware most of the time. There was hardly any thoughts. Her awareness was very clear. Then she recall her intention to ask Bro Teoh a question.
Brother Teoh explained that before you meditate, you already have the intention to ask that question, that is how it can condition such thoughts to arise. This is termed as subtle ‘accumulation’. As you have the intention to ask that question, it is already in your memory or subconscious mind. When you are quiet, these thoughts then arise as response to memory. As you meditate, you will be able to see other thoughts that you have held on to unknowingly from your heedless living. Just a little attention given to a thought or any life situation, due to habitual tendencies, it goes into your subconscious and gets accumulated, which then arise later on when there is conditions. But when you are aware with understanding, it does not get accumulated.
Meditation is to train the mundane mind in sati then to stabilize it to realize Passaddhi (the tranquility and stillness of mind). Passaddhi needs to be very stable so that you are always aware even after you are out of your formal meditation. When your mind enters sati, everything you do, you are in sati. Your hearing, seeing, smell, taste, touch, etc. are all in sati. When this happens it is important that practitioners do not fall into complacency. Instead develop continuity of mindfulness i.e. to master the skill to do it consistently even after the meditation retreat. Thus a good daily religious routine is essential to stabilize our cultivation. When there is clarity in every sense experience, there is no accumulation but only a flow of pure awareness within life. There is joy arising due to the clarity and understanding, but if you are not careful it can lead to complacency. The mind is just aware most of the time. Aware, aware, aware…
When you are still under training, precepts are important to keep because you reap what you sow and you must not be complacent or get overexcited when you experience some good results. You can share with others but only on what you understand and experience. To realize fruition of cultivation, the cultivator needs further contemplation and reflection. Fruition gives rise to understanding that enabling you to share with others easily. Prior to this, you only understand but could not express it clear to others as yet. As you cultivate, sharing arises by itself after your understanding has stabilized. Unless you have cultivated before in the past, you would have to go through the normal cultivation process step by step. You can only understand up to the level you have developed them in the past. From there, you will continue with your cultivation to progress accordingly following the training established.
Master Hui Neng heard the truth of: ‘the mind must have no dwelling’ and awaken right away. This can only happen to those who have developed their past understanding.
Buddha says “heedfulness is the path to the deathless, heedlessness is the path to the dead. The heedful do not die, the heedless are as if dead.” With heedfulness, you can see the arising of thought and if you are caught by it, you can come out of it if you are aware and heedful. You can also develop the ability to see your subtle accumulation and attachment to sense experiences, if you are ever mindful.
Human beings have given undue importance to many small things in life and end up accumulating these things via their own likes and dislikes, thus making them restless and agitated most of the time. But with heedfulness and yoniso manasikara, the mind develops wisdom and does not stir anymore thus it can be at peace with whatever life situation. There is joy in life, no more panicking/reacting/getting overexcited. You understand the causes and conditions behind all these emotional arising because you do things with awareness/sati. Thus you are able to live the heedful life from moment to moment and have clarity of mind to understand deeply the dhamma arising while in midst of life itself.
True dhamma can only be realized while in the midst of life itself, not from theory in the book which are mere words, concepts and thoughts. The dhamma on the 3 evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion are usually taught as words and concepts whereas in real cultivation you experience them and you are fully aware of them while in real life without words. When you can ‘see’ them arising within your form and mind and how they make you evil – that is true cultivation. No more theoretical dhamma. Just like the finger pointing at the moon – the finger is not the moon. To realize the moon one must gaze beyond the finger. Similarly the dhamma points to truth. To realize the truth one must not cling to the dhamma which are mainly words. Real dhamma only arise when your daily mindfulness is very stable. When you can ‘see’ it clearly in life you transformed from within, leading to real awakening. Then you will come to understand that life itself is our greatest teacher for things are just the way they are and Truth which is beyond word is everywhere. Living beings tend to use words which tend to camouflage the real seeing.
Before the views, conditioning and thoughts get involved, you can see thing as it is. But your memory’s views, opinions and conditioning intervene very fast to distort your pure seeing. All that you know are knowledge, words and concepts arising through memory and thoughts and these are not real understanding. The real understanding lies in knowing their movements leading to the understanding of the law of dependent origination or 12 links (paticca samuppada) teaching.
Dhamma is an understanding which is not rigid – unlike knowledge because everything is in a state of flux and Life is always a dynamic flow which is not static. Hence it can only be understood via wisdom.
Hey no you, hey no me. As you awaken through daily mindfulness you will know this very deeply through wisdom and not mere words. Later on the mundane mind collapses, resulting in real seeing with clarity from ones nature. (Brother Teoh shared his experience on this). Please do listen to the audio recording to develop the clear, beautiful and deep understanding of the dhamma shared on that night.
Thought is limited and egoic. Pure Awareness shrinking into a small space to form a thought upon perception by the mundane mind. The small space receives the content of consciousness (memories, views, opinions and conditioning) inputted via our brain to form a thought. The subconscious and the unconscious have all the trapped phobias, scars of memories, insecurities, etc. accumulated previously. These then trigger off fear and causes suffering. BUT you are the pure awareness beyond the thoughts, that spacious awareness without a center. So who fear? What fear?
Insecurity is not easy to root out because it is tied to the self and ones non understanding of the law of karma. Why are you insecure? Thought which is egoic tends to project itself and creates insecurity via the atta (self). Understand that Law of karma only manifests through conditions so we should trust our karma to give us real security. Thus without such understanding, the sense of insecurity will be there. It is a false concept which deluded living beings cling on to. Wisdom is needed to root this out.
You need to cultivate until your awareness is so clear and stable that you can see the subtle greed, hatred and delusion that arise. Only then you can root them out through wisdom. They come through mental accumulation borne of self-delusion. Whatever you give meaning to, you will accumulate. With strong daily mindfulness and understanding, there and then we are able to see it clearly.
It is only a thought and thought arises and passes away very quickly so how come it has power to make you feel so miserable and unhappy? It is because the user of thought is deluded. It arises wrong thoughts to condition your fear, worry, anxiety and all the other negative emotions leading to suffering. However by contemplating the beautiful dhamma to understand how all these come about, you will have wisdom leading to more joy, peace, calmness, contentment, metta, faith in the triple gem, good spiritual faculties and wholesome mind states borne of right thoughts. We will become more respectful and appreciative of life and we will have more space between thoughts leading to more moment of awareness and quietness of mind.
Contentment, gratitude and an appreciative mind are good virtues. When you can appreciate life and what your loved ones and nature have given you (their love and their sacrifices) you will not complain anymore. When you have contentment in life, you do not compare and crave for more things hence you will be have less suffering and more happiness as you are already contented and more at peace. Your mind becomes beautiful. You are grateful to others who have helped you. These are virtues of true cultivators.
Sister Eng Bee further shared that she was aware of all the many external vibrations caused by heavy rain and internal sensations of her body like her heartbeats etc. As her awareness (without words) was very clear, her understanding suddenly came allowing her to understand clearly that ‘all things arise due to conditions’ and they are all dependent originating. She then did the lying down meditation.
Brother Teoh explained that lying down meditation is good as it frees your energy build up. This will make you more aware with much clarity then all things flow as it is and you will understand condition arising, causal phenomena very clearly. When there is contact at the sense bases, sense consciousness arise. This is condition arising. All phenomena exhibit these characteristics: Empty nature, impermanence and non-self. The form and mind is like a mechanical thing. In every movement of awareness there is no one there. In the seeing, there is only the seeing consciousness, no one to see. Same with thought, hearing, smelling, taste and tactile feeling. All these are condition arising/causal phenomena. Hence there is no permanent unchanging entity within. A lot of things will happen when you have a stable daily mindfulness. Not until your daily mindfulness has stabilized the real meditation has not started yet.
The Buddha said, ‘strive on with heedfulness’ for Heedfulness (ever mindful and constantly meditative) is the path to the deathless. As you are aware with more clarity, wisdom will arise and when your heartbeat starts to slows down trust your nature and let your awareness be. Your vibrations will become more refined. You will detect the gateway to your nature. The Yin and Yang energies will melts and flows through your gateway to your nature as pure energy. This pure energy will opens up the nadi (minor chakras) and major chakras. When this happens, do not do anything but just silent, relax and trust the nature to do. Don’t allow the thought to interfere with your meditation. The by-product is gas. Your body system is cleansed. Pure awareness shines forth. This wisdom energy can cause the mundane mind to collapse as the mundane mind is too gross to exist in this field of fine wisdom energy. Bro Teoh shared his above experiences in fairly great detail that night. For more detail please listen to his this audio file.
Awakening can happen if you listen attentively with a silent mind. Brother Teoh shared that his nature came into this world with his past vows, aspirations and cultivation thus able to understand all these. For you all to be born as humans during Buddha sasana also show that you all have your past cultivation. Brother Teoh shared that one of his very unique aspirations was to realize the highest wisdom possible whenever his nature arise.
In the Diamond sutra it is stated that merits accrued by those who understand its 4 stanzas and able to share them with the world is very high and very rare. To realize ones true nature (which is without thought) is very important. Enlightenment is always spontaneous and the moment you understand you awaken. It does not take time. Either you awaken and understand or you don’t.
True mind is without thought whereas mundane mind is full of images and thinking.
Brother Teoh confirmed Sister Eng Bee’s understanding that ‘all the conditioned phenomena must cease for the unconditioned to arise’. Form and Mind must cease for the realization of nibbana to arise. When it happens, the 3 areas of main consciousness at the brain, heart and Tan Tien areas returns to the gateway and shut down. It returns to the nature and completely ceases. Pure awareness is also gone. But you are not dead. There is no word to describe this. When you come out of that cessation, the 3 area of consciousness arise again. This whole process is seen clearly by the form and mind that realize that cessation. According to Brother Teoh cessation happened many times: once while in Cameron Highlands, a few times at home and once in New Zealand when he meditated with his last teacher at his house in Hamilton.
(Above draft was prepared by Sister Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190404||
Meditation is to train the mind to be heedful. When the 5 spiritual faculties are developed, you can just straight away meditate. Relax and be aware to realize the silent mind (which is the meditative mind).
First step towards wisdom is to be aware. The moment you are without thought you are already aware. When you are aware that you are heedless (no longer aware), at that moment, there is mindfulness and awareness. This is what sati is. Or in the words of J Krishnamurti, ‘the awareness of inattention is attention’.
With this awareness, you can understand how you function as a human being and how you get lost in thought. It is through all this understanding that you can get to know what you are (the 5 aggregates of form and mind) and who you are. See that clearly: ‘When you are without wisdom, the 3 evil roots of greed hatred and delusion are actively conditioning the wrong thoughts to cause you problems in life’. Without the 5 spiritual faculties of saddha, viriya, sati, samadhi and panna, the opposite 5 mental hindrances will arise to hinder your mind from enter the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness.
Mind that is collected and unwavering has samadhi and samadhi can prevents the mind from stirring. With sati and samadhi, you can see things as they are and awaken to the reality of the moment, before the conditioning, views and opinions from memory come in to intervene/interfere with our seeing. Wisdom arises. Without the spiritual faculties and the understanding of the dhamma, mental hindrances will arise causing the mind to react and stir. Pleasant and unpleasant sense experiences (which are the first 2 mental hindrances) will then arise within your mental states. Without viriya, you will feel lethargic to meditate. Without sati, Samadhi and wisdom, you will have restlessness of mind, hence your lack of peace.
Real meditation can only starts when ones daily mindfulness is very stable. You need to be heedful and use the ever mindful state to cultivate the noble eightfold path. To progress you need to constantly meditate via having a good religious routine and a very stable daily mindfulness. At the same time constantly reflect and contemplate to straighten your view. Your life is your greatest teacher. The truth is within yourself. You will then understand who you are, what you are and how you function as a human being via the wisdom developed. This is what meditation is all about.
With awareness, you have space between thoughts i.e. clarity, silence and hence peaceful of mind. The moment you are aware of your negative thoughts and heedless thinking, the momentum of these negative thoughts to continue the habitual thinking breaks. When there is space between thoughts the conditioned mind can break free. Thus when you are constantly aware, the heedless thinking mind fails to have power over you.
Because of heedlessness, human beings tend to react to situations due to their habitual tendencies borne of wrong views. The conditioned mundane mind pulls you into negativity and it is this deluded mundane mind that lives your life. As you realize the unreality of form and mind, you can then straighten your view to break free.
Meditation as taught by the Buddha: is to develop a stable sati to see things as they are to insight into the 3 universal characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta to develop the wisdom to free our mind. No more delusion or suffering. Relax into whatever mind states (whether pleasant or unpleasant) that arise. Know that this like and dislikes are due to your mundane mind’s conditioning and habitual tendencies. After having awaken to this understanding and wisdom, you can transform your life for the better. You will have more wholesome mind states that arise via your new heedful way of living which are so different from those of your past rather unwholesome mind states borne of heedless living.
The true mind is the tranquil and still mind in pure awareness without thought and such a mind – can awaken to the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering state and non-self or empty nature of existence.
Without wisdom, maras may come and attack you, making you miserable. Most human beings merely existed through life because they are only conscious of life and they are hardly mindful and aware within. But when you are constantly aware, you truly live life.
If you do not know who you are, what you are, then who is living your life? The deluded thought is living your life. Before thoughts arise, our nature is just pure awareness, the true mind (or spacious awareness without a center). When you perceive something, a thought arise. From spacious awareness, you zoom into a limited space to perceive something to arise the thought. After you perceive, you input the content of consciousness following your views and opinions. Thought is pure awareness with its content of consciousness. That is how the 5 mental aggregates of form and mind arise.
This thought is limited because after you focus, thought arise within this small limited space. This limited and egoic thought cannot see the whole and is incapable of awareness. This thought is not you but merely a dependent originating (or condition arising) thought entity.
Upon contact of mind with the sense bases, you can become conscious of what you see, smell, taste, tactile feeling and think. With proper meditative understanding you will understanding that this thought is not you. But when you think they are you, self-delusion sets in. Wrong thoughts cause your lack of peace. The 3 evil roots of greed, hatred, delusion, which comes from your accumulated memories of good and bad experiences are all embedded deep in your subconscious and unconscious. Most deluded people tend to hold onto their negative emotions thus creating more wrong thoughts and suffering. The main cause of suffering is attachment, clinging and craving borne of self-delusion. Thus if you do not know who you are, you can be deluded by these thoughts. These wrong thoughts then live your life.
The 5 mental aggregates of body and mind (feeling, perception, mental states, mental form and consciousness) arise and pass away but you did not die. Hence they are not you. You are the pure awareness which is beyond the form and mind.
Brother Danny, after our recent retreat at Cameron Highlands shared a book by Paul Ferrini. From John Bradshaw’s commentary on Paul Ferrini’s Heal Your Life books – it is mentioned that Paul Ferrini’s work is a must read for all people who are ready to take responsibility for their own healing. From Larry Dossey’s commentary on his work – Paul Ferrini is a modern day Kahlil Gibran, a poet, mystic, visionary, teller of truth.
Excerpt from Paul Ferrini’s book: “Silence is the essence of the heart. You cannot be in the heart unless you are in forgiveness of yourself and others. You cannot be in the heart if you are worried or angry. You cannot be in the heart if your breathing is shallow or labored. When the breath is labored, thinking is driven by fear and anxiety. Your mind-states are rooted in the past or future. Unless you return to the heart, you cannot see with compassion. And one who does not see with compassion does not see accurately. All that is perceived is a fabrication, a hyperbole. It simply feeds your boredom or anxiety.”
Brother Teoh further explained that when you forgive others you free yourself because when you forgive others your hatred, envy and jealousy (evil roots) are gone (or rooted out) hence your heart is free. Brother Teoh also did not quite agree with Paul Ferrini’s statement on ‘silence is the essence of the heart’. To be more precise, it should be ‘silence is the essence of our nature or true mind’ – it has nothing to do with the heart. Instead the heart is where the conscience resides. There is also a gateway to our nature within our heart. The conscience comes from our nature. It can only arise when we are without thought. You need to be mindful enough to know it. When you are silent in your heart, you can be mindful and aware.
Excerpt from Paul Ferrini’s book: “When you return to the heart, you abide in the silence from which all sound comes. Like a boat on the ocean you feel the waves swell beneath you. You move with the waves, but you know you are not the waves. Thoughts come and go, yet you know you are not the thoughts. You abide with the ebb and flow of the ride, moving in and out, feeling the contraction and expansion of thought. Beneath the thinking mind is a pure, non-judgmental awareness. When you discover the awareness, you fall into the heart. Then giving and receiving are effortless.” Meditation is effortless because the last support is truth and all true meditation is by the true mind which is without thought.
As you understand who and what you are, it is essential to do the 5 daily contemplations (I am subject to aging; I am subject to illness; I am subject to death; I will separate from all that is dear and appealing to me; I am the owner of my actions. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir) as taught by the Buddha.
You make use of this body and mind (as a vehicle and tool) for you to live life. Even when you know this is not you, you need to do your duty in life because this form and mind is subject to karma.
The pure nature cannot come out and live life, but everything arises from there. Thus you can only truly live life when you are with the awareness and not when you are constantly lost in thought.
(Above draft short notes is by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190328||
Sister Tammy asked that in her daily life, she realized that even though her mind is relatively calm and mindful, there is still thoughts arising. She sometimes still gets involved in it. She is aware of her aversion or dislike when these thoughts arise. She is also aware when she has been distracted by the thoughts.
Brother Teoh shared that when you are aware, the mind actually separates from this thoughts. There is aversion because you still perceive those thoughts negatively. Meditation is to develop the ability to silent the mind while in the meditative state to develop the wisdom and understanding needed for awakening. Whatever mind states that arises, you just relax into it first, regardless of whether you like it or don’t like it. These likes and dislikes are your habitual response due to your conditioning.
As you stabilize your awareness, your mind becomes calm and it will start to experience piti leading to sukha. As you relax further into it, the mind will become very quiet and tranquil. If you continue to silent and relax your mind, you will finally develop passaddhi (the tranquility and stillness of mind).
Those who go into adsorption and one pointedness samatha concentration also experience piti and sukha. Experiencing these jhanic factors, the energy field built up is strong, some use it for psychic powers. Some also use to radiate loving kindness and metta. Thought based energy is still within the field of thought, as such it cannot brings about wisdom and if you don’t know how to use, it can give rise to problem due to yin yang imbalance. Without wisdom they can be deceived by maras too.
If you can relax and maintain your awareness, whatever that arise can give rise to understanding/wisdom. With understanding, you will know why you behave in such a way due to your views, opinions, belief system and conditioning. It is the accumulated views and opinions that cause your likes and dislikes. But with awareness, you will understand and you are able to break the pattern. Key word is relax and be aware. You will reach a point where you are aware naturally (mind enters sati).
Life itself is our greatest teacher, all that arise within our own form and mind is our teacher for us to develop self-knowledge leading to wisdom. This is basically what meditation is all about.
By straightening your views, you will understand and be aware when greed, hatred and delusion arise. As you cultivate more awareness, there is less stirring of mind, more sati, you are more peaceful and calmer. With strong daily mindfulness, there is heedful living.
As you contemplate the truth, there is understanding. The moment any thought arises, the yonisomanasikara (the initial wisdom developed after straightening your views), will come out and guide you. You see your thoughts and know whether you have been lost in thought or not. When you are aware that you are lost in thought, you must not develop the aversion but instead accept it via wisdom to relax into it. When you can do that the momentum of thinking breaks, you can then be free of its conditioning. So when you meditate just silent, relax and be aware.
This awareness will slow down and follow your heartbeat, then as you continue to relax and silent, the mind becomes very quiet until there is no more movement. Mind is still. No observer at all but just awareness itself.
With meditation, you hardly dream. If you dream, it is usually only the balance of subconscious and unconscious releases. In the deep state of sleep, any hidden phobia or fear are released. After they are fully released, there is no such dreams anymore.
When you are in your subconscious state, you may not know about the trapped phobias, thus believing your fears/thoughts. But the moment you understand, you can root them out. No need to fear or suppress it. They can be rooted out through wisdom. These phobias are released with wisdom while in the meditative state.
Initial wisdom developed through hearing, contemplation and reflection (the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom) is very important. When there is sati sampajanna (developed via a very stable daily mindfulness), there is more space between thoughts and quietness and calmness of mind can be felt more frequently. Then the cultivator can break free from their thoughts conditioning. Space between thoughts is wisdom energy. This is the true mind. When wisdom increases, vibration becomes more refined. The Mundane mind will finally collapse when it is too gross to exist within that fine vibration environment. Your awareness will then just shines forth thereafter. It is the mundane mind that obscures your true mind. When you are lost in thoughts and preoccupied with the thinking and the emotions, you will become heedless and there is no chance for the awareness to shine forth.
The book, ‘Understanding the Heart and the Mind’ explains the karmic force and the gateway to your nature.
Your mind is like a garden, thus take good care of this garden by planting only the good seeds of wholesomeness (all the right thoughts of gratitude, generosity, goodness, gentleness, pleasantness, love, compassion and wisdom, virtue, kindness, contentment and respect, etc. instead of planting weeds (the unwholesome wrong thoughts of anger, hatred, envy, jealousy, enmity, vengeance, sorrow and lamentation, fear, worry and anxiety, etc.) to conditioned our suffering. The moment you are heedful, you will be ever mindful, then you can meditate and wisdom will unfold.
When you know how to meditate, wisdom will be there. Without mindfulness, there is no heedfulness. Thus you must always be mindful to develop the spiritual faculties and the meditation. The moment you are relax and just aware (without thought), there is sati. You then stabilize it and use it to cultivate Noble Eightfold path (leading to heedfulness). With wisdom developed you can straighten your views and all other essential dhamma will then fall into place. There is understanding of who you are and what you are. You see clearly the evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion. You can then cultivate the 4 right efforts to constantly purify your thoughts, speech and actions leading to the 3 ways of right conducts. This is how the whole cultivation can be developed resulting in joy and transformation.
The mundane mind will be a good tool for you to use. No more wrong thoughts controlling your life. Instead you are the master of your own thoughts. You use the 4 right efforts to root out the unwholesome thoughts. After that there is sense restraint leading to the 3 ways of right conducts and the cultivation of the 4 foundations of mindfulness. The 7 factors of enlightenment will keep arising.
With sincerity you never deviate. Perseverance and faith drives you on to cultivate. You will then understand the whole cultivation and awakening processes. With faith and constant diligent contemplation & reflection the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) follows suit resulting in sati sampajanna.
(Above short notes is by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190307||
Bro Teoh advised all Kalyanamittas to sincerely (with faith) cultivate the Buddha Dhamma to transform their life for the better and to use their dhamma understanding to live the good life for the benefits of all.
Sis Angie shared that learning to relax is very profound and important in our meditation practice and has helped her see how her body and mind moved as one and has now experience much less tension. Bro Teoh rejoiced and confirm that the first support for awareness based meditation to always relax into every mind states that arise during meditation is very important, otherwise one may develop meditative concentration and energy build up, leading to stress, tension and headache. This concentrated and focused mind is a conditioned mind, is not a free mind and will not lead you to wisdom and understanding of who you are and what are you. Only the free mind can allow you to see things as they are to develop the wisdom i.e. having the direct knowledge and vision of the reality to understand the Truth (Nature’s laws that govern all of life and existence) as taught by the Buddha.
Relax is the first of the 4 supports for awareness based meditation:
Bro Teoh also shared the 3 hallmarks of Hui Neng’s teaching which lead directly to the true mind having: No Thought, No Mark and No Dwelling.
No thought = true mind. Without understanding the true mind, you cannot understand truth. You cannot realize your true mind if your spiritual faculties are not developed. Your mental hindrances prevent you from entering the meditative state of inner peace, inner calmness, well-being and awareness.
The Buddha taught Anapanasati is to help you develop mindfulness of the in and out breath leading to heedfulness. With mindfulness (you are without thought), you will experience piti and joy. With Sati when you investigate the Dhamma (Dhammavicaya), Viriya will arise when the Dhamma stands up to investigation. Viriya will drive you to cultivate further and your Sati will stabilize, then Piti will arise. Then you are supposed to relax into all mind states and maintain awareness then Piti will become more and more refine until it cumulates into Sukha. Continue to relax and your mind will become very quiet and subtle, and the mind enters sati leading to Passaddhi (the tranquility and stillness of mind) which is still, aware and without thought with nothing within. Stabilize it further till the mind is in Samadhi. With Sati, Pasaddhi and Samadhi, you can see things as they are and you will awaken. Wisdom will be developed leading to the arising of the last enlightenment factor of upekkha.
Having dhamma friends -> listening to the true dhamma -> faith in the Triple gem (Buddha and his teaching) -> Yoniso manasikara (initial wisdom) -> Sati Sampajjana (mindfulness and clear comprehension). Sati when stabilize leading to heedfulness. Heedfulness = ever mindful + constantly meditative (cultivating the N8FP). Heedfulness (sati sampajjana) -> develops sense restrain -> develops the 3 ways of right conduct -> cultivate the 4 foundation of mindfulness -> leading to the 7 factors of enlightenment -> true knowledge leading to enlightenment, will fulfil all the 10 steps as stated in the enlightenment cycle of the Avijja Sutta.
The Buddha advice the Kalamas to investigate into all Truth told to them. If it is the truth it will stand up to investigation. It will also bring above more wholesomeness and be conducive for the good life.
Take care of Karma and karma will take care of your life and you will have the good life. Realize the true mind and be awaken to the Truth.
Without thought, you are just aware, and there is no fear, no worry, no anxiety, no sorrow, no lamentation and no problem. You are just calm, peaceful and at ease. This is wonderful living.
Bro Joseph enquired when we are in Sati, is it ok for us to recall the positive and beautiful songs and enjoy them. Bro Teoh thank Joseph for the rather good question because it will give rise to causes and conditions for him to discuss this rather important topic concerning life especially how to live life which many do not understand. As long as you are mindful and you understand, you can listen to nice music and watch the video or any cinema show. You can also have good food if there is condition for you to have them. The only advice by the Buddha is not to be attached, not to cling and not to have craving. When there is no condition to have them, just accept the reality of it and do not allow the craving to make you miserable or unhappy.
Human beings problem is, when they recall through memories their scars of memories, phobias, life’s problem etc. they develop the unnecessary fear, worry and anxiety instead of resolving them amicably with wisdom and understanding borne of dhamma understanding. Do not accumulate such psychological memories borne of wrong views. Treat memory like random access memory (RAM) as in a computer, only access them when need to use them. The memory can still be there (inside the brain) but we don’t go and hold onto or cling on to them all the time to arise the unnecessary fear, worry and anxiety. Just be aware and don’t get lost in it and don’t crave for it (if it is something pleasant that you desire/like).
(The above draft outline short notes is by Sister Angie)
|Teoh Thu 190228||
Review of 19 Feb 2019 Tuesday class short notes:
Sis Eng Bee request for clarification with regards to feeling remaining as “pure feeling” that Bro Teoh always talk about.
Bro Teoh explains that in “pure feeling” there is no grasping; i.e. direct feeling without avijja.
“Like” – pleasant feeling arising due to the mental hindrance of sense pleasure
“Dislike” – unpleasant feeling arising due to the mental hindrance of ill-will
Neutral feeling borne of delusion; indifference here is not true equanimity of mind
[Important Note: Pure feeling is NONE of the above 3 types]
This silent internal observation of feelings (cycles of likes and dislikes) will seemingly slow down, each phenomena becoming clearer and clearer each time it arises and then dissipates
Helps to form an initial understanding of the 3 universal characteristics of:
[Additional analogy added during notes preparation]
The 7 factors of enlightenment (satta bojjhanga):
(Note: there is a very clear you tube video on the above 7 factors of enlightenment sharing. Please view it on our https://broteoh.com website under the section dhamma video)
Sis Eng Bee asked whether the mind entering sati is the “mundane mind” or the “true mind”.
Bro Teoh clarifies that the mundane mind is the thoughts whereas the true mind is just aware before the arising of thought. When mind enters sati, it means the mind is just aware and without any thought.
Sis Angie pointed out that the mindfulness training (e.g. not to stir the mind / give rise to proliferation of thoughts), seem to be in conflict with the 4 right efforts cultivation within the Noble 8-Fold path
Bro Teoh explain that there is no contradiction because these are two separate type of cultivations. The 4 right effort are thought based cultivation involving thoughts designed by the Buddha to allow for initial cultivation, to purify one’s thoughts to bring about sense restraints leading to the 3 ways of good conducts. Whereas the other one is mindfulness based meditative training to realize awakening.
Bro Teoh recap the 5 ways to abandon unwholesome thoughts as taught by the Buddha:
1st way > thought based approach > Think of the direct opposite wholesome thought
2nd way > still thought based approach > Reflect on the consequence of holding onto the unwholesome thought. (E.g. wrong thoughts with the 3 evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion will be harmful to our mind, body, and environment. It will also bring about karmic downfall.
3rd way > meditative approach >
4th way > meditative/wisdom approach >
Understand that angry people will say angry things, selfish people will do selfish things and deluded people will do deluded things.
5th way > with tongue against the palette, determine to abandon it via sheer willpower.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)
|Teoh Thu 190221||
The 3 main key points of Brother’s Teoh’s Talk on the 21 Feb 2019 are:-
Sister Angie reported that since she starts practising meditation she is beginning to be more aware of her breathing. Brother Teoh explained that this is good progress because majority of the people are hardly aware while living life. They are conscious of life and are heedlessly lost in thoughts most of the time.
The difference between awareness and consciousness is, awareness only takes place when there is an inner awareness which is independent of thought. One can only be aware when one is silent within. You may be conscious of life but that does not mean you are aware. To live life we need a conscious mind. Sometimes our mind moves so fast, so to be aware of what is going on in life we need to be completely silent. Awareness is different from the thought. Therefore, if we can develop inner silent we would be more aware of things around us. We need to train and stabilize our mind to be ever mindful, until our mind enters sati. Then the mundane mind stops and there is no more thinking. Then we will have clarity to see things as they are leading to wisdom. Then your mind will be less reactive and has less stirring. If this stirring is so rampant it becomes habitual without you being aware and these habitual tendencies will make you heedless. Most of people are like that as they lack the 5 spiritual faculties. It is difficult to be aware when the mental hindrances are around.
The 5 mental hindrances are:
A good way to train the mind is via meditation. Meditation will help improve our awareness. Relax and silent your mind. Do not try to be aware as that is the thought wanting to be aware. When thought is active there can be no awareness. Just silent and be aware. Relax and stabilize the silent mind and use it to cultivate the Noble eighth fold path leading to heedfulness. Appamada/Heedfulness means ever mindful and constantly meditative (to cultivate the Noble Eightfold path). Dhammapada verse 21 states that heedfulness is the path to the deathless, the heedful never dies, whereas heedlessness is the path to the dead, the heedless are as if dead. If you are heedful you are destined for enlightenment. Dhammapada verse 23 defines what heedfulness is: ‘The constantly meditative, ever mindful and steadfast one will realize the supreme enlightenment of Nibbana’.
Most people have knowledge but not wisdom. They get this dhamma knowledge through listening, reading and committing them to memory instead of doing the contemplation and reflection on the dhamma to develop the wisdom. They do not understand the rationale behind the three turnings teaching. This way of learning would not lead to wisdom. It is just knowledge & theory – not wisdom. To gain wisdom, practitioner needs to listen attentively with understanding and enquire, contemplate and reflect on the dhamma such as why did Buddha say this? And how can I understand it?
In the 1st noble truth, we can enquire, why did Buddha says that birth is suffering? Reflect and contemplate on the birth process and find out – were there any suffering.
The past impact us greatly. With past cultivation the understanding is easier and faster. If you cultivate the 10 stages or ground of Bodhisattva training and reach the 8th ground then one will not fall back anymore. But to hit that level there is a need to cultivate till the 3rd stage of Bodhi mind development – Bodhi mind that illuminates your true nature. All these are possible if you have developed the understanding of the cultivation in the past. Otherwise every life you come without the strong karmic and spiritual natures – you practically need to start from basic again and it is no going to be easy. In one life time you may not have sufficient time to cultivate much. Not until you hit such very favourable condition such as this present sasana of Sakyamuni Buddha to cultivate the true dhamma. Rare indeed is to have the privilege to encounter the Buddha dhamm/sasana and be born as a human being.
To start on this journey one may need to first plant the seed of Bodhi with great sincerity, faith and understanding to walk this Bodhisattva path via taking the four basic vows of a Bodhisattva. To refer to our standard format for the taking of the Bodhisattva vows for full details.
Prepared by: Sister Tan Keat Hoon
|Teoh Thu 190214||
When you come out of meditation, maintain the awareness. Your mind that has entered sati will be different. Continue cultivating the daily mindfulness until it is very stable. You can move at normal pace and still be aware. As awareness is established strongly, you become skillful. At whichever speed you are moving, awareness is ever present. For example, when you watch TV, you can follow all the movements happening on screen. You see with awareness and your mind is silence. All that you observe is just awareness. You move, think and perceive with awareness.
As you continue to progress, your mind is transformed, sati strengthened, wisdom stabilized and you become normal again. Mundane seeing is transformed into pure awareness seeing meaning you see things as they are, finally you realize the world is still the world. In this third phase of seeing, you have established the seeing which is beyond the mundane and the supra mundane direct seeing.
In the first stage of Bodhi mind development, you only need to vow sincerely with strong faith to plant the seed of Bodhi, the Bodhi mind deep within your nature to take the 4 basic vows of the Bodhisattva to walk this Bodhisattva way. With this, the Bodhi mind will manifest even during era when the Buddha sasana or dispensation is no more. It will remind you of the aspirations and vows to go this way. As these vows and aspirations are very important and magnificent, that is the reason why we make these vows and aspirations so that we can have this right understanding life after life whenever we choose to come or have to come to go this way. After you have planted the seed of Bodhi, the first stage of Bodhi mind development which is to develop the aspiration to walk this way, to commit yourself to take these precepts and vows with understanding to realize Buddhahood has been established.
As a Bodhisattva you can come through your vows and aspiration deeply ingrained in your citta, through faith and understanding. This can help you progress and transform fast. The bodhi mind planted deeply within your nature will be activated, when you hear the truth, you will know how to cultivate and understand the teaching deeply. Your cultivation would be direct and you would not go wrong. In Brother Teoh case, he came with his special nature, since young there were conditions for him to see and understand that he is unique and not normal. His nature knew that he was different because of his vows and cultivation developed in the past.
Three sets of pure precepts that a Bodhisattva takes is an extension of the Buddha’s advice. They are:
It is important to understand the difference between the bodhisattva way and the sainthood way. Sainthood way is whereby when one reaches arahantship, there is no more coming back to the world of existence and their nature ceases to be. Whereas for the Bodhisattva their nature can condition another form and mind via the vows and understanding to come again and again, beautifully to help liberate sentient beings and fulfill their vows and this is very rewarding.
Brother Teoh advice us to create great affinity with all the great enlightened beings via chanting, expression of gratitude and thanking their nature for their blessing, protection and guidance all this while and pay respect to them. Spiritual faculties are to be cultivated life after life. Master Hui Neng’s teaching on no mark of a self and others are of utmost importance in the cultivation. Virtues and merits are needed to help you in times of difficulties as you walk this path. Through this cultivation and invocations of merits and wholesomeness, things that you never expect could happen not only manifest, but they can also cause things to arise by themselves at the right time and right place miraculously.
Thus we must always cultivate with faith, sincerity and perseverance. This understanding will follow you life after life. You can also have additional vows to break the karmic obstructions so that you will not get lose when the sasana is not around. Therefore trust your own nature. The fact that you can have the good conditions to come across this truth now in this lifetime; it already shows that you must have your past cultivation.
Invoking power of merits for these enlightened beings to protect, bless and guide you, is very important. Always express gratitude towards all these great beings and the Buddha. Kuan Yin has this vow that whomsoever who chant and establish affinity with her nature, whatever he or she aspires for, there will be a respond. Establishing adhitthana (affirmations, vows and aspirations) via proper understanding is needed to help one walk this way successfully. Adhitthana is one of the 10 perfections needed to realize Buddahood.
You learn from all the great beings, establish your own understanding and help others. People can also learn from you. You alone walk this way is very difficult but when you are able to connect with all these great enlightened beings nature, their great vows and perfections will help take you along and your cultivation will be relatively much easier.
The civilization in which we choose to come depends on your understanding. You need to establish your parami to have a choice to choose the timing to come again. With your parami, you can have a lot of options. When your nature comes, it needs a form and mind which is subject to karma. It is important that you have a clear understanding of these so that life after life when you come, you would understand and not be deluded. You will understand deeply that this form and mind is not you, not real. You would insight into phenomena and know what mind really is: both the mundane and supra mundane mind. When you are connected, you will awaken and it is no longer knowledge, but a deep realization.
There are 10 fetters that bind a living being to this world. At the stage of a Sotapanna, three fetters will be severed. There is no more self delusion – that this is me, all of this is mine. No more belief in rites and rituals. Faith in triple gem is unshakable. Sensual desire and ill-will is reduced at the stage of Sakadagami and eventually cease to arise at the Anagami stage. No more sensual desire and ill will. At the stage of an Arahant, there is no longer the attachment to form and formless jhana, self conceit, restlessness of mind and ignorant. If one has cultivated before in previous lives, one would still go through the various stages of awakening but would breeze through it very fast.
Bodhisattva is an enlightened being walking the path of Buddhahood. But not all bodhisattvas are enlightened beings. In Tzu Chi for example, the members have compassion to help others with sufferings, thus they are bodhisattvas within the world (society) but not all of them are enlightened.
Those into religion may or may not find the truth depending on their understanding. As stated by J krishnamurti in his this quote: “Religion as we generally know it or acknowledge it, is a series of beliefs, of dogmas, of rituals, of superstitions, of worship of idols, of charms and gurus that will lead you to what you want as an ultimate goal. The ultimate truth is your projection, that is what you want, which will make you happy, which will give a certainty of the deathless state. So, the mind caught in all this creates a religion, a religion of dogmas, of priest-craft, of superstitions and idol-worship—and in that, you are caught, and the mind stagnates. Is that religion? Is religion a matter of belief, a matter of knowledge of other people’s experiences and assertions? Or is religion merely the following of morality? You know it is comparatively easy to be moral—to do this and not to do that. Because it is easy, you can imitate a moral system. Behind that morality, lurks the self, growing, expanding, aggressive and dominating. But is that religion?
You have to find out what truth is because that is the only thing that matters, not whether you are rich or poor, not whether you are happily married and have children, because they all come to an end, there is always death. So, without any form of belief, you must find out; you must have the vigor, the self-reliance, the initiative, so that for yourself you know what truth is, what God is. Belief will not give you anything; belief only corrupts, binds and darkens. The mind can only be free through vigor, through self-reliance.”
The main purpose of Brother Teoh’s nature’s present coming is to transmit the true dhamma teaching to the world as per the request of Maitreya Buddha. Bodhisattva is somebody with the bodhi mind. If one cannot choose to come yet, one has to come through karma. One then may realize the enlightenment of the sainthood way. With the right teacher to guide him or her, as one connects and transforms, his or her vows are thus activated. With diligence, one would reach the second stage of bodhi mind development – bodhi mind that embraces all affliction and suffering. With this, one would have gone beyond the arahantship way.
In the first stage of the bodhisattva way, you just plant the seed of Bodhi to arise the Bodhi mind to take the vows and plant those aspirations deep into your consciousness/nature. It takes awhile to perfect the first stage. Your cultivation further illuminates your true nature to realize the third stage of Bodhi mind development. You then cultivate the 6th patriarch’s platform and the diamond sutra teachings. These are real cultivation of the bodhisattvas. In the fourth stage, the bodhi mind renounces samsara and with this understanding you would not worry about how long the cultivation takes. The sainthood way is relatively easy to realize. But the bodhisattva way takes much longer. However it can be cut short with proper guidelines and understanding.
According to the Buddha’s handful of leaves analogy at Kosambi, Simsapa grove, the Buddha addressed the monks, “what do you think monks, which is greater in quantity, the handful of leaves gathered by me or what is in the forest?” The monks replied, “Not many, Venerable Sir, are the leaves in your hand; many are the leaves in the forest.” The Buddha replied, “Even so monks, many are the things that I have fully realized but not declared unto you; few are the things I have declared unto you. And why, monks have I not declared them? They monks are indeed not conducive, are not essential to the holy life of purity, to cessation, to Enlightenment, to Nibbana. That is why monks, they are not declared by me. And what is it that I have declared? They are the 4 Noble Truths and their respective 3 turnings.” The sainthood way only involves the cultivation of this handful of leaves as opposed to the Bodhisattva way which involves cultivating all the leaves in the forest. Reason why the Bodhisattva way takes so long and is so much more extensive.
(Above draft short notes prepared by Sister Angie Chong)
|Teoh Thu 190131||
You need to have affinity with Triple Gem in order to have spiritual friends. When you take refuge in Triple Gem and pay homage to Triple Gem with faith you create affinity with Triple Gem. According to the Buddha Kalyanamittaship is 100% of the holy life, without it we are unable to come upon the true dhamma. Best of kalyanamitta is the Sammasambuddha. That is why he arise and set up the enlightened sangha group.
When you have dhamma friends, you have the chance to listen to the dhamma. With past cultivation, wisdom from 1st turning of the Four Noble Truth (sutta-maya panna), you can develop understanding of the dhamma and awaken. If you do not awaken from the 1st turning then you have to do the 2nd turning wisdom (cintamaya panna) through constant reflection, contemplation and enquiring into the teaching. Through this you cultivate a deeper understanding, stabilize what you have heard and assimilate the understanding into your nature. If this does not awaken you, then you will have to develop the 3rd turning wisdom i.e. bhavana-maya panna (wisdom born of meditation). First two turnings is enough to develop yonisomanasikara (the initial wisdom).
With dhamma friends, you are able to listen to the dhamma, straighten your views, develop the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom to arise the initial wisdom. When you see the dhamma stands up to investigation, your faith in Triple Gem will be strengthened and it will drive you to cultivate with greater sincerity. The next step is to cultivate daily mindfulness, sati sampajanna. With mindfulness, you can have sense restraint i.e. you can see your evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion clearly. You then can arise the 4 right efforts to abandon the evil roots, prevent them from arising, right effort to cultivate wholesomeness and finally the right effort to refine upon and perfect these wholesome thoughts, speech and actions.
Your mind with the initial wisdom is very stable and will not be deceived by what you see, hear etc. With sense restraint, you are able to arise the 3 types of right conducts: right speech, action and thought. After which you are ready to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness.
Develop your mind to be mindful until it enters sati. When your mind is in sati your daily mindfulness will be there. You can then see your subtle mental intentions and delusions clearly. You can also understand that all phenomena are dependent originating hence impermanent. You are able to develop sense restraints leading to your ability to arise the 3 types of right conducts.
Do listen to Sister Adeline’s last Tuesday class sharing which was very beautiful. Her daily mindfulness and dhamma understanding are strong. As she listens to dhamma there is so much joy. Later, during her sitting meditation her Mind settles down and becomes very quiet and still very fast – it is a free mind with very stable sati in perfect tranquility. After experiencing that state of mind, her nature’s understanding transformed. That Tuesday night she can understand J. Krishnamurti quote on, “You and nothingness are one” very clearly.
Sister Angie asked if daily mindfulness is the same as present moment awareness and is it necessary to do the formal sitting meditation. Brother Teoh explained that if you can maintain present moment awareness throughout the day, then it is the same as daily mindfulness. Daily mindfulness means ever mindful throughout the day even when you are resting to sleep. Whether it is necessary to do sitting meditation, he said most important is for you to know what you are doing in the name of meditation. If you do not have a strong past cultivation to assist you then sitting meditation is a must.
What is the purpose of doing the formal meditation? It is to train your mind to be heedful. Appamada/Heedfulness means ever mindful and constantly meditative (to cultivate the Noble Eightfold path). Dhammapada verse 21 states that heedfulness is the path to the deathless, the heedful never dies, whereas heedlessness is the path to the dead, the heedless are as if dead. If you are heedful you are destined for enlightenment. Dhammapada verse 23 defines what heedfulness is – ‘The constantly meditative, ever mindful and steadfast one will realize the supreme enlightenment of Nibbana’.
You need to train your mind to be mindful and stabilize it until your mind enters sati. Mundane mind then stops and there is no more thinking. Mind is in stillness. That is your true mind in pure awareness. Stabilize your mind until sati has become a part of you in the midst of life only then the real meditation begins.
Awareness based meditation has 4 vital supports: i) Relax into every mind state that arise; ii) Aware (awareness); iii) Maintain awareness for as long as you can (if possible 24 hours) and iv) Trust your nature (do not allow your thought to interfere). The moment you are without thought, you are already aware. Allow the mundane mind to be. If thoughts arise, let it be. If you do not react with likes or dislikes thoughts will gradually slow down and cease. These thoughts arise due to your craving borne of wrong views.
As your mind enters sati, stabilize it. When you are out of meditation, you will understand. Your physical movements and awareness move as one. Everything you see is one with the true mind/awareness. Thus present moment awareness means being aware continuously during every moment of activity.
J Krishnamurti said there is no observer. Your body and mind move as one. As you bow mindfully, do lying down meditation in silence and walking or sitting with mindfulness, you are actually stabilizing your sati so that your every movement is one with your awareness. When you understand sati, there is no word, no thought. Cultivate your mindfulness until sati comes. When sati comes, your form and mind will know. You will understand that sati is awareness before knowing.
Relaxation is important during meditation. No blockage in energy. No constriction and no stress.
J Krishnamurti quotes as follow “You are nothing. You may have your name and title, your property and bank account, you may have power and be famous; but in spite of all these safeguards, you are as nothing. You may be totally unaware of this emptiness, this nothingness, or you may simply not want to be aware of it; but it is there, do what you will to avoid it. You may try to escape from it in devious ways, through personal or collective violence, through individual or collective worship, through knowledge or amusement; but whether you are asleep or awake, it is always there. You can come upon your relationship to this nothingness and its fear only by being choicelessly aware of the escapes.”
Some people who are unhappy end up drinking or smoke as a way of escapism to rid of the fear and worries in them. Brother Teoh shared that smoking is a form of anapanasati. That’s why they feel the peace.
J Krishnamurti further stated that “You are not related to it as a separate, individual entity; you are not the observer watching it; without you, the thinker, the observer, it is not. You and nothingness are one; you and nothingness are a joint phenomenon, not two separate processes. If you, the thinker, are afraid of it and approach it as something contrary and opposed to you, then any action you may take towards it must inevitably lead to illusion and so to further conflict and misery. When there is the discovery, the experiencing of that nothingness as you, then fear—which exists only when the thinker is separate from his thoughts and so tries to establish a relationship with them—completely drops away.”
Thought is pure awareness plus content inside. Before enlightened, the deluded form and mind insert this content via delusion. As you think you are separate, it results in self-delusion. But when you understand with direct seeing (insight) that the whole of phenomena world is impermanent, dependent originating, thus NOT you. Then you will come to understand you are nothing. All is empty, mind made are they. Even the present moment is empty, not real, as every moment it arises and passes away. You can only recall it through memory.
When you are aware every moment, every instant of your true mind which is silent, you can awaken to the truth which is not a knowledge, not a belief.
The moment you experience this nothingness, you will awaken and you will then come to realize that the 5 aggregates of form and mind is impermanent and non-self and not what you think. You cannot even own yourself, what more trying to own or possess others. You have to realize this empty nature of existence. This understanding needs to be stabilized through constant contemplation and reflection to realize fruition.
(Short notes draft is by Angie, Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190124||
Brother Teoh read through last Thursday class’s outline short notes which were very good. He further stressed upon the importance of developing a very stable daily mindfulness.
Unless you can realize your true nature, you cannot understand the truth. All dhamma arise from there.
To slow down the arising of sankhara activities we need to have the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara). This yonisomanasikara is very important because it can give rise to a stable daily mindfulness leading to less sankhara, more peace and clarity of mind. Thus one can meditate more easily.
Brother Teoh shared that in his university days; he did absorption meditation and experiences much stillness. However when he came out to work, he could still see his cravings. He shared that if one goes through the adsorption or one pointedness (concentration) meditation and experiences much stillness; that is not a free mind. Under such stillness the 5 mental hindrances are all suppressed. It lacks wisdom to root out the mental hindrances. As such when there is condition these mental hindrances can still arise. Brother Teoh knew that this was not the meditation that the Buddha meant. Brother Teoh met Master Hsuan Hua during his university days and after graduation. There was so much joy upon knowing Master Hsuan Hua would be visiting Malaysia again. He fulfilled his aspiration to meet with Master Hsuan Hua and donated generously, accruing merits, etc.
Brother Teoh shared that the Surangama Sutra book that Master Hsuan Hua’s kappiya handed to him, all seemed so familiar when he read it. It was as if everything that happened was meant to be and not too long after that (in the year 1986) his teachers, the books and the guides all came at the right time. Just like the saying, ‘When the student is ready the teachers will appear’. He listened to master Hua Hua’s dhamma recordings frequently and contemplated deeply – this was his determination to cultivate. In fact, his whole family took refuge under Master Hsuan Hua. That was after he received Kuan Yin’s message to “move fast, not much time”.
Unless you know what your nature is, you will not be able to know what will happen to you. Past cultivation and conditions have helped Brother Teoh understand deeply his nature since young.
Brother Teoh was cultivating Anapanasati prior to meeting Master Hsuan Hua, and after meeting the master, he came to understand Mahayana teaching further. Later he met his teacher, Phra Ajahn Yantra and could feel his metta and rather strong energy. His teacher’s dhamma talks were very clear and Brother Teoh has deep faith in his teacher. In one of the meditation talk, his teacher Phra Ajahn Yantra stressed the importance of cultivating the daily mindfulness (awareness) in every action, every moment and every instant in daily life. After two weeks of constant awareness training and development, Brother Teoh’s daily mindfulness came and not long after that all his understanding arise.
In the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha said, “Oh Bhikkhu, this is the only way for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the four foundations of mindfulness”. Brother Teoh stressed again the importance of awareness and being determined to be ever mindful in the midst of life.
We choose aware every action and movement in the present moment.
Faith in the teacher is of utmost importance, coupled with aspirations/vows. Cultivation will just flow when the 5 spiritual faculties are developed.
According to J Krishnamurti, the main problem with human being is, they are so full of fear; fear of the unknown. They only want to be in familiar ground. This fear of the unknown will prevent one from investigating further into who and what one is. Humans also tend to escape from reality. They dare not confront the truth. Most people dare not face their problems and do not know how to resolve them amicable, but instead tend to avoid them through locking themselves up and be miserable. Even those diverting attention towards spirituality are also a form of escape from having to face reality in life.
The 5 aggregates are impermanent, unreal, empty, non-self and are not what you think. Thus not you because you are nothing and nobody. Your nature is also anatta. Empty nature of existence. Your form and mind are not you because it is dependant originating, hence impermanent – hey no you and hey no me, thus no reality.
You must reflect, contemplate and investigate, why Krishnamurti did say ‘I am nothing and you are nothing’ because you (the form and mind) is not a permanent unchanging entity that you can cling on to and grasp on to as the me/I. Empty here meaning empty nature of existence. Even in the unconditioned, it is also anatta because it cannot come out and let you live life. Thus your nature is also anatta. It is not an entity you can possess and own. This understanding will liberate your mind from delusion. The conditioned world of form, mind and consciousness would no longer deceive you. You know the whole of creation is not real. It is the mind/consciousness that makes it up – mind made are they.
The 4 stanzas in the Diamond Sutra state that the whole of creation is mind made. The phenomenal world is dreamlike, an illusion, a bubble and a shadow; all is dreamlike and impermanent. Thus mind/consciousness is the greatest illusionist. You can then come to realize the unreality of this conditioned world. All that you perceive is not real, but mind made. Buddha said, mind is the forerunner of all things, mind is chief, when mind arises everything arises. If you can penetrate this, you would awaken.
Everything is created by the mind. It arises due to conditions and ignorance. Sankhara and consciousness give rise to the mundane mind. The mundane mind gives rise to the phenomena world of consciousness. All of phenomena exhibit the three universal characteristics of nature (anicca, dukkha and anatta). This teaching is indeed a gem and rare to come about as few would deeply understand it.
How do you recognize an enlightened being? Enlightened being does not have a shop on their forehead saying they are enlightened. You have to cultivate, have the right understanding to be able to feel them. You can check whether they still have greed, anger, fear, hatred, delusion and ego or not. Enlightened ones are wise and virtuous people without all those traits.
Our form and mind is very fragile. It needs protection. Reason why we need the great enlightened beings to guide, protect and bless our nature.
(Short notes draft is by Angie, Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190117||
Initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) must be developed to cope with sense experience and to develop meditation. The avijja sutta highlighted various steps for cultivators to check their cultivation. Daily mindfulness and sati sampajana are vital steps. Yonisomanasikara comes from stability of daily mindfulness. With sati, thought will not be there because your mind can only do one thing at a time, either it is aware or lost in thought. When you are lost in thought will negative emotions, you cannot have the clarity to understand what is going on within the moment. Thus no wisdom. However, if you are aware and silent, there is clarity, this nature can meditate, understand and develop the wisdom through seeing things as they are.
When you have stability of daily mindfulness, you can reflect and contemplate into the dhamma. The second turning wisdom is through inquiry into the essential dhamma (especially the 4 noble truths. When you are silent and aware, your mind is in a creative state and in this creative state, it can understand. When you have stability of mindfulness, you do not need external environment to be peaceful. You just need a relatively quiet place where you are not disturbed, then you can start your contemplation. This contemplation gives rise to the second turning of wisdom which then gives rise to the initial wisdom.
Why do our mind stir? It is due to our wrong views that condition our likes and dislikes, pleasant and unpleasant reactions to sense experience. This creates mental hindrances of sensual desires and ill will. The real wisdom comes from our understanding. Why should we react? Thing is just as it is, the world is the world. These are nature’s realities. You have to understand this deeply. When you understand you can laugh it off and smile because you understand and you are always at peace. Things happen in life because conditions are there to cause things to arise in such manner. You can act with wisdom following Noble 8-Fold Path. With wise acceptance you are calmer within. You seldom react or stir your mind anymore.
After you have straightened your views, there is less avijja leading to less sankhara (thinking) and less stirring of the mind. Your mind is peaceful, has more clarity and calmer. Daily mindfulness becomes easier to cultivate.
Having dhamma friends is vital for us to have the condition to listen to the true dhamma. As you listen to the true dhamma you can contemplate and reflect on them to arise the 2nd turning wisdom needed to straighten your view. You can also investigate the dhamma and when it stands up to investigation, it strengthens your faith in the triple gem. You will then go all out to cultivate daily mindfulness leading to sense restraints. Wrong thoughts, wrong actions and wrong speech thus cannot arise. Then only you can cultivate the satipatthana practices (4 foundations of mindfulness).
Most of us lack the daily mindfulness and initial wisdom needed to be heedful in life. The moment you are heedful, you are destined for enlightenment (dhammapada verse 21).
Brother Teoh encouraged kalyanamittas to read the latest transcript books titled ‘The 5 aggregates of Form and Mind’ and ‘Understanding the Heart and the Mind’ to be introduced soon. These latest transcript books are been prepared with improved flow and language to enhance its readability.
You need to understand the 5 aggregates of form and mind (the 2 aspects) to understand the Buddha’s teachings.
Mind is consciousness, the formless movement and unlike physical form it is less tangible. So without a stable mindfulness you cannot see mind. Brother Teoh has shared before – how to see mind, the unreality of mind and how to see beyond mind. If you have the stable daily mindfulness you can see the aggregates of mind (feelings, perception, mental states/mental activities and consciousness) very clearly. They arise and pass away very fast because they are dependent originating aggregates hence they are impermanent leading to suffering if we attach to them deludedly. This will enable us to see the unreality of mind. When one is able to see beyond form and mind, one has the direct seeing. One can then see truth within nature without being distracted by your mental conditioning and memories.
Brother Joseph enquire about his understanding of anatta as non-self and the impersonal process. We should not take our physical body personally as a self. Brother Teoh explained that anatta has deep meaning, non-self is just one small aspect of anatta. According to the Buddha,
How can external form like the table or white board, etc. be non-self? Therefore the real meaning of anatta is: It is not a permanent unchanging entity that you can cling onto as the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’. The 5 aggregates of Form and Mind (both aspects) are dependent originating, impermanent hence also anatta.
All of sankhara (your content of consciousness including perception and feeling) are impermanent. They arise and pass away very fast. Mind made are they. The mundane mind is the heedless thinking mind, the conditioned arising mind and the dependent originating mind. Thoughts are response to memories. When the pleasant feeling or unpleasant feeling ceases, did you die? Feeling comes and goes, but you did not die. Therefore this feeling is NOT you, hence anatta.
Anatta means this human being (1st aspect of the 5 aggregates of Form and Mind) with the consciousness trapped inside is NOT you. Both the physical form and mind consciousness (the 4 aggregates of mind) are dependent originating, impermanent therefore it is not you. In short it is due to your self-delusion which causes you to cling to the 5 aggregates of form and mind thinking it is you that is the cause of suffering. If the 5 aggregates are not you, then who are you? What are you?
These 5 aggregates of form and mind is a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for you to come to this condition world to live life and experience the karmic fruition/consequences. You should make use of this form and mind wisely, and not be deluded by it thinking it is you. The form and mind is a tool and vehicle for you to come to this world to experience life. Thus live it well. Without the egoic mind borne of delusion, you would not cling or attach to the form and mind.
Reflect on the chanting of the Sangha as taught by the Buddha – rupam aniccam (form is impermanent), rupam anatta (form is not a permanent unchanging entity) we can develop great wisdom. Form (both the bodily form and external forms) are impermanent. They arise through conditions. When conditions cease to be, form ceases to be (to read the recently reprinted 5 aggregates transcript book to develop the clear understanding). The external form is unreal, what more when what you see is merely an image (pointing to the forehead) thus is even more unreal. Anatta means no a permanent unchanging entity, hence no reality. You cannot hold or cling onto it. When you die, all of your loved ones and ‘possession’ in the mundane world will separate from you. Your possession and wealth only ends up as inheritance. Hence the saying ‘empty you come (at birth), empty you go (at death). There is no point grieving over emptiness in between’.
Anatta – empty nature of existence. Rupam anatta (form is not a permanent unchanging entity). Form and mind (as a compounded entity) is a conditioned arising entity. Anatta has the same meaning as sunyata (emptiness). Emptiness is not empty of everything. It means empty nature of existence. We cannot deny we were born as we have gone through this phase of life. But is there any reality? We can only recall what happened through memories. What we experienced is within the moment, split second it is dead and gone. The only reality in life is the present moment, the here and the now. Just like what is explained in Eckhart Tolle’s book – ‘Power of Now’ regarding the importance of the present moment. Just like Buddha’s teaching on awareness. Thus the question we should ask is, moment to moment, life passes by, what am I doing? The problem with human beings is that they are too busy thinking, planning and worrying about life so much so that they do not live as they do not have present moment awareness nor mindfulness to live and experience the moment. Split second the thoughts via the thinking mind come and take over making you loss in thought.
On the other hand, with awareness and mindfulness, you will come to understand that life has no reality. Even your own body you do not own, what more trying to own others. You say “my son, my wealth, my properties, etc. this only the fool’s lament for that very body also does not belong to him, thus whence son and whence wealth?”
The 5 aggregates of form and mind is NOT you but it is related to you via your karmic nature. Thus Buddha asked us to do the 5 daily contemplations: This body of ours is of the nature to age, get sickness and die for it has not gone beyond old age, sickness and death. All that you think you own and cling on to dearly, they will one day separate from you or when your breath stops, you separate from them. We are all born of our karma, heir to our karma, conditioned and supported by our karma and we are what we are every moment every instant due to our karma.
The 5 aggregates of form and mind is NOT a permanent unchanging entity and they are dependent originating, go the way of nature. Hence suffering will arise when you want things your way which is against nature’s way.
Via meditation you can ask yourself, who am I and what am I? What is this awareness which is aware of the form and mind? Is this awareness part of form and mind?
The analogy of the driver and the car is a good analogy to understand your form and mind. The driver is synonymous to the mind and the car to the form or vehicle that takes you around and they work together to function as a compounded entity but both are not you. You are the big boss who owns the car and the driver. The boss is synonymous to your nature which is connected to the Form and Mind. This nature is never born therefore it never dies because It is an eternal nature. Just like the ‘boss’ who owns the car and driver he (your nature) seldom shows himself. You have two natures namely your true nature and your Karmic nature. This true nature is your awareness, your true mind. This karmic nature is the nature that records all your karmic activities and your good and bad merits. This merits is similar to your spiritual wealth/money that decides which model of the car and what type of driver you can have when you are reborn.
The true understanding comes about through meditation when you are able to see for yourself that this form and mind is NOT you. The few essential dhamma I use to teach you all are always the same, but I always approach it from different directions depending on conditions that arise so that you all can understand its deep meaning.
Everything is anatta. Including our natures which cannot come out and live life. That is why these natures are also anatta. But the true nature is capable of awakening, insight and the direct seeing. There is a gateway within your form and mind that links you to this true nature. The coming transcript book with the title ‘Understanding the Heart and the Mind’ talks about this gateway and the true mind.
There are 2 aspects to explain the 5 aggregates of form and mind:
In the seeing, there is only the seeing consciousness, there is no one to see because the content of consciousness has not gone in as yet. Thus no delusion or wrong view. This is the pure awareness or vinanam as mentioned in the Buddha’s 12 links teaching of – “avijja paccaya sankhara; sankhara paccaya vinanam; vinanam paccaya nama rupam”. This nama rupam is the 2nd aspect of the 5 mental aggregates of Form and Mind. It arises when the content of consciousness enters the pure consciousness. Perception then brings in the external form. This external form makes up the 5th or last aggregate. Due to ignorant, you create mental thinking. Thinking is a mind process and your mind (brain) is an organ, so the moment you think, you made contact with the mind, then mental consciousness comes to be. This is the pure consciousness (vinanam) without the content. When you input the content, the vinanam becomes the nama rupam.
If we attach to this 5 aggregates of form and mind, we suffer. If we attach to this body – worrying about it getting old, fall sick and die, we suffer. We should use this form and mind with wisdom without being attached to them deludedly. That is how we free our mind. If we attach to feelings, we suffer. We should understand when unpleasant feelings arise, we have two choices, react and be miserable or wise acceptance and be at peace. With this understanding, your mind does not stir.
Meditation is not merely sitting, it involves training mind to be aware, to realize the silent mind (the meditative mind), to be with the moment in silent awareness while living in the midst of life (in all postures). Not to use the thought to ‘meditate’, to focus or concentrate but instead to develop mindfulness and awareness leading to heedfulness. The Buddha said, ‘heedfulness is the path to the deathless, the heedless are as if dead’.
Brother Teoh shared that it is through daily mindfulness that his nature understands and sees all these.
(Above draft is by Sister Angie, Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190110||
Sister Wendy recently volunteered teaching 12 year-old Sunday school kids at Brickfields Sunday school. She taught meditation but found it difficult to share about the benefits of meditation to these kids. Brother Teoh explained that the benefits of meditation are many. It can help bring about: i) Inner peace, ii) inner wellbeing, iii) clarity of mind, iv) wisdom, v) better health, vi) study better, vii) more efficient while at work, Vii) more wholesomeness.
As you train your mind, your mind is peaceful and calm, leading to clarity of mind, thus you can study better and do things more efficiently. Meditation develops inner peace. For kids, they have a wild imagination it is difficult for them to sit in meditation. Thus you can use the mind sweeping method and metta or loving kindness as a skilful mean to decondition their heedless thinking to start off with. Using verbalization to express their feeling or love via reciting, “May I, this body and mind of mine be well and happy”. Let the kids feel this inner wellbeing and happiness in their mind. When body cells have this rather positive wellbeing and happiness energy, its vibration is good and cells will recuperate and become healthy.
We don’t need to concentrate our mind in order to be peaceful. Inner peace automatically comes when the 5 spiritual faculties are presence. Saddha, confidence in Buddha and his teachings will make us calm and composed. It frees your mind from doubt, fear, worry and anxiety. Viriya, the spiritual zeal to cultivate will arise when you see the importance of this teaching. When you are determined to train your mind then sloth and torpor would not bother you.
The mind that doesn’t think is in sati. Let whatever thoughts arise and settle down on its own. When there is no more thinking energy in that thought, it’s thought energy will dissipate and cease to be. Inner awareness is thus important. Stabilizing it leads to Samadhi, the collected and unwavering mind. It has calmness energy, born of a free mind. When you’re out from meditation, even while in the midst of life, when you see, taste or smell something, your mind does not stir. With sati and Samadhi, the mind can see things as they are, without the interference of thoughts and its mental conditioning. It can then awaken to the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non self leading to wisdom. With the spiritual faculties, the mental hindrances of sensual desire, ill will, doubt, restlessness of mind and sloth and torpor will not arise.
Fastest way to develop sati is to just relax and silent the mind and don’t do anything. You can use mind sweeping method to decondition the heedless thinking as well. Some yogi asks for instructions on methods and techniques to meditate which is not the right way. What they need to cultivate are the spiritual faculties to help them silent their mind. Those instructions are just skilful means to anchor their mind on something so that it doesn’t wonder off. Most people doing this end up in concentration and absorption meditation instead of developing sati.
If you know how to relax and maintain awareness, you will feel the energy moving within. Energy is blocked when you can’t relax. Yoga helps chi to flow because the yogi doing Yoga knows how to relax. Relaxation make them flexible, developing deep calmness. Their mind is calm and peaceful. This inner peace will lead to the experience Piti (spiritual joy/rapture). If you relax further and maintain mindfulness you will experience Sukha (blissfulness of mind) and finally passaddhi (breath becomes refine and very subtle, mind is tranquil and still). This tranquil mind is your meditative mind. All of meditation training is to develop this passaddhi (tranquility and stillness of mind). Your body will recuperate from the calmness and the good vibration. Combining it with loving kindness, leads to inner wellbeing.
The benefits of meditation are thus inner peace, inner wellbeing leading to clarity of mind. When you are just aware, there is no thought, your mind is quiet and there is clarity to see things as they are because there is no emotions or thoughts to distract your mind. With clarity of mind, you can make better decisions and work more efficiently. It improves your career, studies, and health. The well-developed collected mind (in Samadhi) will enable you to understand many things in life. With this, you are able to develop wisdom leading to enlightenment.
The moment you are awakened, you are a blessing to the world. Character, personality and wisdom wise, you are transformed. You can live the noble life, helping others. You can contribute to humanity and the world. Benefits of meditation is limitless after developing the wisdom.
Meditation also attracts abundance in life because your mind states are different. People can feel you. Brother Teoh shared his university day’s experiences, the first 5 jobs he applied for, he got them it. This is due mainly to his metta and people can feel his good metta energy. This metta energy brings about good conditions for people to love and like him.
Sister Angie shared that after practicing meditation and dhamma, she is more inward looking and not so competitive with the outside world, especially in the materialistic aspect. As youngsters are greatly influenced by peer pressure, social media and all the latest fashions and trends, there is a lot of pressure for them to dress up well and be outwardly good looking. But with the dhamma and meditation, it is different. Brother Teoh further shared that meditation in fact brings about more humility and contentment and one is less materialistic. People tend to chase after good status. But with dhamma and wisdom, all this is not important because virtue is more important.
When you have the means, no need to be too thrifty, you can pamper yourself, your loved ones and also help others. But do not indulge. This is what dhamma is. It is important to be frugal initially, if you are not from a rich family. This is what Brother Teoh’s father advice. Both his parents were frugal in their lives. They never been to a cinema until he graduated. If you cannot save the seed money needed to grow your money via investment it is very difficult for you to have financial freedom. So the most important thing is to have the seed money to grow your wealth. When he was a young engineer, his salary was not much and he can hardly save. He was seriously looking into having enough seed money to invest. So from selling insurance as a part time agent for three years, he managed to have his seed money of about RM50,000 which he used to invest. Within the first two years, he already made 5 times his invested sum of RM30,000. That is why seed money is vital.
Dhamma is not rigid and truly applicable to life. You take care of karma and karma takes care of you. In Brother Teoh’s case, due to his good karmic past, when he came (this segmented life), he was able to have all that he needs to live a very good comfortable and conducive life. He need not rely on others supports to do what he loves to do. He just accord and flow.
What is success in life? Good karma means being born in a good family and have a good education. Then you come out and work, thus career success and financial freedom. Family and relationship success, meaning relationship based on dhamma. However, with all these your life is still not complete. You still have to confront the first noble truth realities of suffering. When there is delusion one will cling onto the 5 aggregates of form and mind, leading to suffering.
With a cheerful, peaceful and wise demeanor, you can attract others and people can see and feel the good in you as well. People are willing to trust you. They feel safe around you. They love your presence, it makes them feel good, peaceful and happy. For example when you share the truth with them, people develop confidence in the teaching, especially the law of karma on ‘you reap what you sow’. They will then develop virtue. Cultivate generosity. There are people who donate anonymously as they believe strongly in the cause. When you have the means and the conditions to partake in all this wholesomeness you should do it. All the wholesome seeds you have planted will come back to you as wholesome fruition eventually. Your nature will receive back all this offerings and money. Brother Teoh shared that in this life, all that he receives is from his karmic inheritance. Nothing to do with luck. Money and wealth just comes when needed. But there are combination of conditions for their arising. Money can come due to one’s parami. He shared his experience on how condition arise when he need to have a house a start a family, the conditions just arise. Thus it is important to take care of karma, cultivate wholesomeness and virtue. With understanding things will go your way.
Cancer is caused by mainly by mental stress. Negative energy borne of fear, worry, anxiety, stress, sorrow and lamentation cause immune system to fail and cells to mutate leading to illnesses. To reverse it, one needs to meditate to develop inner peace and inner wellbeing so that their body cells recuperate fast. By radiating good and positive wellbeing energy to the mind and body, it will help alleviate/boost the immune system. Your life style and diet are also very important. Your body has its way of telling you, when you don’t take care of your body. It will bring about issues like pain, disease, etc. When you don’t take care of mind, it also brings about mental suffering leading to depression. Thus it is important to arise the right thoughts. With the dhamma, you can develop positive mind states. Thus inner peace leads to inner wellbeing can help maintain your youth and health. When connected to your nature, you will have the pure energy to heal your physical body. If a person has poor health because of lack of proper food and nutrients, but when conditions arise and that person is suddenly given multivitamins, supplements and good nutrients, there is a sudden boost in his bodily health. With dhamma and spiritual faculties there is inner peace, inner awareness and wisdom. You only need to arise thoughts when you need to use them. Otherwise, most of the time you are fully aware and there is very little or no thought. But if your body has gotten accustomed to this mind states and nutrients and yet you fall sick, then you’d probably need a longer rest time to recuperate. Brother Teoh shared that his rest time become longer when he is down with flu as he ages.
The benefit of meditation is that you can heal yourself. Meditation brings about wisdom to liberate your mind. Even when you confront suffering in life, the supra mundane understanding will help you, to live well without suffering. To be successful in life, you need both the mundane and supra mundane understanding. With the supra mundane understanding, you will live the noble life of an enlightened being. You are able to live life to the fullest. You get to experience the pristine beauty and wonders of life. No more problems and life is just beautiful and wonderful.
Sister Angie enquired about non attachment. Brother Teoh explained the nature within you that awakens brings about wisdom which frees the form and mind. But this form and mind is not you, it is just a karmically conditioned entity. This nature will not attach and cling to this form and mind. Without this awakening the “person” who wants to let go will not be able to do so. It is through wisdom and understanding of who you are, that able you to really detach. Thus the word “Non attachment” is a fallacy. When there is wisdom, you can’t even hold, thus there is nothing to attach. People use it as a practice, practice detachment and letting go etc. There is no such practice. Basically without wisdom, you won’t have the ability to let go. The moment you hold, you already have delusion. As you want to let go, it is the thought which wants to let go. But thought is egoic. Without yoniso manasikara, upon contact at the moment of sense experience, you won’t be able to cut at feeling. Without wisdom feelings immediately condition cravings.
You can’t teach a kid to not attach. It can only be done through their own understanding or wisdom. Wisdom is such, either you have it or don’t have it, you cannot learn it through knowledge. You have to awaken through the direct seeing to be able to not attach. With wisdom, one is also able to accept things as they are and be at peace with the reality in all situation.
(Above draft is by Sister Angie, Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 190103||
Are you able to develop the meditative mind? Are your spiritual faculties developed? Do you still have mental hindrances? These are important questions for cultivators to contemplate and reflect upon. Brother Teoh reminded yogis to understand that the purpose of them attending meditation classes is to initially train their mind to be more peaceful, calmer, and happier; to develop inner awareness leading to wisdom and joy within. If you are miserable during meditation it means you are not doing it correctly. The key to successful meditation is to relax, maintain awareness and trust your nature while doing it; have stable spiritual faculties as well as being mindful in midst of life. Meditation is basically to develop the training of the mind to be mindful and aware all the time.
You need to have clear understanding to develop the meditation with ease. You don’t have to always sit to meditate. If you can be mindful in the midst of life and you are always peaceful, aware and calm within, with very little or no thought at all, that is good meditation. When you have done it correctly, your meditation will progress. You don’t have to sit rigidly because meditation can be done in any posture (as long as your mind is serene, peaceful and aware).
Buddha taught the 12 links or paticcasamuppada. The first 2 links are: avijja (ignorant) paccaya sankhara (mental activities or thinking and emotions). I.e. Ignorant condition mental activities, which cause you to think and become heedless. You do this because of ignorance, ignorant of the truth (dhamma). Wanting to understand, you keep thinking and this leads to heedlessness borne of self-delusion.
The first two links can be weakened via Right View. You need to straighten your view to develop vijja (understanding) via meditation (the direct seeing) and contemplative wisdom. With wisdom you will understand that this form and mind is not you (because hey no you and hey no me) and you are not deluded by what you see, feel, taste, smell and think. This form and mind is impermanent, and it can’t be you because it is dependent originating and it goes the way of nature. You don’t have control over your body and mind. Thus the 5 daily contemplations are vital. Body and mind is only a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for you to come to this world. Thus don’t worry about it getting old, sick and die, but use them with understanding to live life well. You maintain good mind states for a good immune system.
When you have understood the essential dhamma, you won’t attach and cling to your body and mind anymore, but you will use it well with right view. Body and mind must harmonize and co-exist harmoniously, to experience the good life. With wisdom to accept the reality of the moment, you don’t suffer. It is a universal reality for your body to grow old, get sick and succumb to death. With this understanding, you won’t be afflicted. Even as you age and get more prone to illness, you are still peaceful. Your mind is not sick nor miserable. You are grateful and contented with life.
Sister Pat shared her experience where she was told by her doctor that she might have cancer. She was not worried but approach it wisely. She prayed for guidance from Buddha. She never worried and continued eating healthy and felt healthy and well. After a few months, she went back for checkup and the results came in negative for cancer. As she did not want anyone to worry for her, she made sure she lived her life well and took good care of her diet and lifestyle with good mind states throughout.
Brother Teoh shared that we should not believe just based on one test results or one doctor’s assessment. Even if really you do have cancer, so what? Don’t panic because that is a universal reality. If you understand, you can take it positively via having right view. If you need a second opinion, do it. If it is reconfirmed positive, accept it. You should reflect positively via contemplating all happenings with understanding, then it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. With understanding, you are able to cope with this reality. You can then ask for forgiveness and repent via living the proper life, don’t neglect your life anymore, instead cultivate a healthy lifestyle, do more meritorious actions, then invoke power of merits for turn around. If you have fear, worry and anxiety borne of wrong thoughts, it will only cause your immune system to fail. But with positive mind states, it will bring about good immune system for recovery instead.
If your diet and lifestyle are not right, your body has its own way of alerting you. You must be more sensitive to feel it. Medical checkup is important. If you don’t feel well, please go for a medical checkup. Don’t believe all the test results just like that. Sometimes it is karma that you meet with doctors who are not ethical and give wrong assessment. Thus it is vital to keep the 5 precepts to enable one to avoid all evil, then cultivate wisdom and wholesomeness. This can help one mitigate one’s karmic negativities. The precepts are for your own good (to protect you from committing evil). To have good life, one must follow the advice of the Buddha to take care of karma.
You cannot stop thinking if you have avijja. To weaken avijja, you need wisdom to straighten your views. You need to meditate and be mindful to do so. Then when you confront the 8 realities of life, you will know how to deal with them calmly. You are not affected by them because you know, thoughts are respond to memories. Fear leads to anxiety, sorrow, and lamentations. Fear exists only because you think you are real, the atta is so real. When you understand anatta, you will ask, who fears? It is the thought that fears. It arises due to wrong view and it is conditions arising hence fear is not you. When you stay with that fear, it ceases because there is no more wrong view and you are simply just aware. When there is no movement of thought, there is peace. Fear, anger, disease all are never a part of you. The body goes the way of nature. Just like the car, if you don’t take care or maintain it well, it will cause you problems.
With spiritual faculties of saddha, viriya, sati, samadhi and panna established, your mental hindrances will cease and you will be peaceful with clarity of mind to see things as they are to develop the wisdom needed to free your mind.
One who does not suffer have the understanding of the dhamma to accept the reality of the moment; to confront whatever situations with wisdom. You are constantly aware, can perceive things with wholesomeness only, can see things as they are, no negativity, no fear, nor worry. Thus right reflection is important. Have gratitude that this body has served you well, and it will continue to serve you well if you take care of it well. With clarity of mind, you can act with wisdom via following noble eightfold path. If there is a disease, accept it as a reality. Then ask yourself, how can I move on? If it’s karmic, you should ask for forgiveness. You change your diet, seek advice, and do what you need to do. You understand that this form and mind is not you. You understand anatta, sunyata and emptiness. Empty nature of existence. Yes you have gone through life, since birth until now; all your experiences – is there any reality? You can only recall via memory, they’re only your thought and consciousness. Thus how real can it be? The world continues on according to nature’s law, with or without you.
To exist is to go through time. Thus existence is time related; and the whole spectrum of time can be defined by Past, present and future. Past is already gone (not a reality), future yet to come (also not a reality). The present moment, now is the most important and the only reality. Moment to moment it passes by. How real and stable is the present moment? Split second it arises, next moment it is dead and gone. Thus every arising moment has this empty nature of existence. Contemplate deep and see it (via the direct seeing) clearly to awaken. Then no more self-delusion.
There is this nature within us, which never dies (the eternal nature). This is the unborn. You should realize this nature in your meditation and understand that the rest are mind made hence unreal. Then nothing in this world can deceive you into misery or suffering. You can realize this understanding via deep contemplation and meditation.
The kalyanamitta’s Consciousness has evolved beautifully, and if you all read our transcript books again (now) you can have penetrative understanding. Our coming March 2019 annual Cameron Highlands Meditation retreat will be very interesting, because of this higher consciousness among kalyanamittas. This time around many of you can awaken to your true nature if you have the faith and strong resolve to cultivate sincerely when there.
The Buddha taught the 4 right efforts in his Noble 8-Fold Path teaching and they are:
1st right effort – to abandon the wrong thoughts that has arisen. Thought with the evil roots of greed, hatred, delusion that condition your fear, worry, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation, etc. are all wrong thoughts. Greed is not only greediness, but it includes selfishness, desires, lust, covetousness, possessiveness and cravings. Cunningness is mainly delusion caused by selfishness. Hatred are negative tendencies like envy, dislikes, resentment, unhappiness, other negative emotions, unpleasant reactions to sense experiences, etc. Self-delusion (moha) are your fear, worry, anxiety, phobias, insecurities, sorrow and lamentations, etc.
To abandon them, there are 5 ways:
2nd right effort is to prevent wrong thoughts from arising. To do this you need to have yonisomanasikara which is the wise attention or wisdom at the moment of sense experience. You need awareness to see it first then to reflect on it to develop the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) via the above 3rd and 4th ways to enable you to do it.
3rd right effort is to cultivate the right thoughts, speeches and actions that are still not in you. To do it you need to understand what constitutes right thoughts, speeches and actions. Right thoughts are thoughts without the 3 evil roots; all your virtues, honesty, gratitude, kindness, love (metta), compassion, equanimity, other wholesome thoughts are your right thoughts. Including all your kind, pleasant and gentle speeches and actions that bring about understanding, harmony, joy and happiness.
4th right effort is to refine upon and bring to perfection all these right thoughts, speeches and actions. Improve on them until they become a part of your nature. You need understanding to develop these wholesomeness. Only with wisdom and understanding can one develop such wholesomeness and goodness. When you are aware, incapable of evil deeds, you are already good. So don’t try to be good because without wisdom, good according to you may not be the real good.
(Above draft outline short notes was done by Sister Angie, Puan Chee’s daughter.)
|July – December||
|Teoh Thu 181227||
Brother Kok Loon expressed his thanks and gratitude to Bro Teoh for sharing with him such beautiful dhamma which had helped him so much and turned his life around for the better. He could still remember what he heard during his first class on 23rd January 2018 where Bro Teoh mentioned in his talk about the wrong usage of thoughts. Instead of using thought correctly, people harm themselves by using it like a knife to `cut’, hurt and harm themselves and others. That sharing woke him up from all the wrong thoughts he had been having for so long. He also related the three miracles that he experienced after that:
Bro Teoh mentioned that metta and compassion cannot be cultivated in the true sense of these words. Similarly, one cannot practice wisdom. But, we can develop the arising of such virtues via understanding or wisdom. Once such virtues are well developed, we can become a blessing to all. Hence, it is through wisdom cultivation that such virtues can arise and it is to be developed via an understanding but not via a practice. Once, there is genuine love and metta, even the animals can feel it.
Bro Teoh shared his experience with a very big dog he encountered when he was in Melbourne. When the big dog broke loose from its owner, it ran very fast toward Bro Teoh’s direction. However, instead of charging at him, it was full of joy when it approached Bro Teoh because it can sense Brother Teoh’s rather strong and soothing metta. Brother Teoh can also sense the dog’s joy from a far when he saw its furs blooming and tail wagging. Even the owner of the dog was dumbfounded and he asked Brother, ‘who are you? I thought my dog was attacking you’. There were other occasions when Bro Teoh received similar experiences when he radiated metta to two strangers, one in front of him and another time someone behind him. He received similar responses when they both turned to smile at him without knowing why.
Bro Teoh mentioned that in most Buddhist teachings, devotees are not taught the meaning of wrong thoughts. These are thoughts that harm us. When one understands what wrong thoughts are, only then is one able to cultivate the right effort to abandon them and then later cultivate the right thoughts. It must be nurtured through an understanding.
After overcoming wrong thought, we can cultivate wholesome thoughts that are still not in us. Right thoughts lead to the cultivation of virtues which can protect us. Negative vibration cannot affect those who have virtues and wisdom to protect them.
However, when we face challenging situations, it is not possible to bring about such mind states to act as protection if we had not developed them. A Kalyanamitta asked Ajahn Passano during our recent November 2018 trip to Anandagiri Hermitage, whether forest monks can radiate metta to ward off attacking animals while in the forest. Ajahn replied that it won’t work unless one has skilfully cultivated such virtue (wholesome qualities) before facing the situation.
Bro Teoh touched again on the third way (via pure awareness) to handle negative mind states that arise, that is, just via remaining silent and aware within. Then, when the negative mind state disappears, the understanding will arise. There is no effort involved yet by remaining mindful and introspective, one can learn from the experience. When the arisen mind state disappears, the cultivator will realize that the mind state is not real for it comes and it goes dependent on conditions. It is dependent originating, hence impermanent and may lead to suffering. It is anatta and empty because it is not a permanent unchanging entity.
To develop further wisdom, the cultivator can trace the origination factors for the arising of such unwholesome mind state. It is always via one of the sense door contact borne of one’s wrong view. This wrong view condition the wrong content of consciousness causing one to stirs and reacts to sense experience. One can then straighten one’s view to arise the wise attention needed to cope with sense experiences. Hence, without wise attention (yoniso manisakara), the mind will stirs and cause suffering. This is why the Buddha taught us to see things as they are through wisdom (wise attention) at the moment of sense experience.
The four supports for awareness based meditation are very important and it can cause one’s daily mindfulness to be very stable. Only then can one remain in a meditative state all the time so as to be ever mindful in the midst of life. The four supports are: – relax, aware (or silence), 24 hours and trust.
When thinking arises, awareness is lost. Hence, the real cultivation has nothing to do with thought. Insight into the truth is via the direct seeing (awakening) and not a knowledge. Wisdom is not rigid because one will be able act according to any situation according to one’s understanding via applying the Noble Eightfold Path. Wisdom enables the cultivator to accept people and situations for what they are. There is no stirring of mind hence the peaceful mind with clarity and right view will arise the right thought leading to right speech and right action, etc. to act appropriately.
With constant reflection and contemplation, the cultivator can stabilize their wisdom. Cultivator should also keep on straightening his or her views to improve on their understanding as their wisdom grows. Form delusion is very powerful and without wisdom one can be easily deluded and deceived by it.
Once one can see beyond form and mind, only then can one see truth. One has to have the ability to see things as they are without the word.
Every living being has the same eternal nature, which is unborn, the original nature, and the source. Yet it is not you. Once one has developed the awareness needed to see before the perception (to seeing things as they are), one will not be deceived by the phenomena world of form anymore.
Master Hsuen Hua once mentioned: – that the world is not what we think. It is not that the world is not peaceful. It is our mind that is not peaceful. When the mind is peaceful, the world is also peaceful. Even Ajahn Yantra, one of Bro Teoh’s teacher, used to mention this – ‘Inside ok, outside ok. Inside not ok, outside big problem’. Inside means our inner nature and wisdom within.
Through delusion, the form and mind entangles itself and creates so much suffering. This is what heedlessness is all about. With right cultivation, we will have the right understanding to live life well and life can then become truly wonderful and meaningful.
J. Krishnamurti mentioned in one of his quotes, `the most dangerous person in the world is the one who says I know.’ For there is nothing to know because all knowing come from the thought or memory which are knowledge, not wisdom. Also the dhamma we hope to realize is beyond thought and beyond mind.
Bro Teoh touched on the 5 ways to abandon wrong thoughts as taught by the Buddha:
The 4 right efforts within the Noble 8-Fold path:
Progress along the Bodhisattva way will be very swift as one cultivates with understanding. It prepares the cultivator to receive the higher truth which is beyond the sainthood way. The cultivation is according to the Sixth Patriarch Platform Sutra teaching which takes you straight to the true mind to cultivate the 3 hall marks of Hui Neng’s teaching comprising: No thought, no mark and no dwelling. When the cultivators reach the state of no thought and no mark, they will realize their true mind and the understanding that there is neither the mark of a person inside cultivating nor mark of others or living beings and there is also no mark of dhamma or the phenomenal world. When the cultivator cultivates to the state of no dwelling, the mundane mind would have collapsed. There is only either specific phenomenon or spacious awareness in the midst of life and existence and the nature, which has shined forth is always there.
After Bro Kok Loon’s sharing, Bro Teoh advice all kalyanamittas to rejoice and he then help invoked the power of such merits for all kalyanamittas to realize their good and noble wishes soonest possible.
(Above draft is by Puan Chee)
|Teoh Thu 181220||
Sister Angie concluded that developing wisdom is most important in cultivation. Wisdom can enable us to have the right views to cultivate appropriately leading to good decision making to live the noble life.
Brother Teoh confirmed that the whole of dhamma cultivation is centered on developing wisdom for nothing frees your mind except wisdom (panna).
Sila, Samadhi and Panna is basically the Noble eightfold path. Sila is morality or precepts. Sila/Precept is the source of spiritual joy, spiritual wealth and spiritual peacefulness of mind. Without Sila, Samadhi cannot kick in. Samadhi is the meditative discipline. Panna is wisdom. Without wisdom, you are heedless and end up being entangled in life, leading to suffering. Human beings tend to accumulate more knowledge instead of wisdom, thinking that through cunningness and intellect, you can become successful. It is definitely not the case. In fact Knowledge which is rigid binds and it does not free you. If you cling onto knowledge, it makes you think you are smart and clever. However you are not wise for you do not understand life, end up getting into trouble. A PhD holder or a noble prize winner’s life without dhamma (the spiritual understanding) can still be miserable.
With right view born of wisdom, you will be able to live your life well. You know how to navigate around not getting into trouble. Wisdom is about understanding nature’s truth as taught by the Buddha. Nature’s truth are: the 5 universal orders of nature that govern life and existence. If you abide by these nature’s law, you will know how to live life well. Utu niyama and bija niyama are the first 2 scientific laws of nature – scientists know these laws, and thus flourish based on these understanding. The other three are Spiritual laws (karma niyama, citta niyama and dhamma niyama) – the Buddha is an expert in such spiritual laws. Reason why the Buddha has such great wisdom.
Buddha saw the law of karma clearly. We are all born and heir of our karma. Thus it is vital for us to take care of our karma for we reap what we sow. Do good begets good. Do evil begets evil. We must live in accordance with this law. Or else we get into trouble. We must always do our duty well. What we do onto others, parents, friends, kids, fellow beings, – we reap what we sow. If we are respectful, grateful and help them, the law of karma will reward us accordingly via its appropriate fruition where we are cared for and respected in return. It is vital to follow advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil and do good. Thus Sila is very important.
Dana parami (generosity) is also very important because it creates good condition for us to cultivate dhamma. Without it, you are born poor. You have to work hard for money (food and shelter) hence no time for meditation because the basic need of life which is food and Shelter is more important. But with dana parami, you have the luxury of conditions and time to listen to dhamma and meditate to transform yourself and bring about a good life. If you don’t take care of karma, your life won’t change. All these understandings come from wisdom.
Reason why the Buddha later taught Dana, Sila and Bhavana (Samadhi + Panna). When you can see things as they are and see the truth of impermanence, suffering state and non self, you will awaken and develop wisdom. Wisdom is right view in regards to the law of karma, law of mind and law of truth. You need to have sincerity of purpose, so that when you meditate, you don’t deviate but stay on the right path. If you go into psychic field, without wisdom, you will get into trouble. If you use it for own selfish purpose it will lead to karmic consequences. Without a proper teacher, mara will attack you and create more problems for you.
Instead, develop virtues, kindness and good karmic nature (with understanding) to support you all the way in your cultivation. Dana parami performed through merits making like materialistic giving, generosity (by offering flowers or incense or fruits, etc. to the altar and during puja), keeping precepts, meditating, listening to dhama, straightening view, rejoicing, sharing and transferring of merits, helping out in community service via contributing towards the growth of the sasana and the gift of truth are all meritorious actions. These 10 meritorious actions you can get to perform them when you attend any of our dhamma classes and activities.
Instead of living life heedlessly and being deluded, wasting time in materialistic and sensuality indulgence of life, you should always be heedful and wise to live a balance life. If you have the means via your dana parami, it is alright to ‘pamper’ yourself to some extend but need to be mindful and heedful always. If you have the means and condition, you can make use of your dana parami to have the good life. You can provide for yourself, your loved ones and also donate to help others. It is important to open up your rather loving and compassionate heart and be kind and generous to others.
The 10 paramitas (or perfections) to realize Samasambuddhahood: – as you walk the path and develop understanding of the Bodhisattva way, the 10 perfections can be developed naturally via understanding. The first most important step is to plant the seed of bodhi (the Bodhi mind) with great faith and sincerity. Then develop it further through the 5 stages of Bodhi mind development. The 1st stage is to plant the seed of Bodhi to walk this way via taking the 4 basic vows of a Bodhisattva. Bodhi seed will mature through faith and determination. Vow with love and compassion to liberate all beings from suffering. Vow to endure and sever all sufferings to develop the wisdom to know how to free your mind, only then can you take others across. Vow to penetrate and perfect all wisdom. And finally vow to complete the 10 perfections. (All these are explained in Brother Teoh’s blue transcript book – ‘Cultivating the Bodhisattva way’).
To renounce all things: materialistic wealth, views, opinions etc. meaning no attachments, cravings & delusions. Renounce to enter monkhood to cultivate dhamma is just physical renunciation. As for mental renunciation meaning to be meditative and to realize your true nature. Mind in seclusion. With wisdom, form and mind become beautiful. User of form and mind become a blessing to all, leading to the noble life (wisdom renunciation).
As you go through sainthood way, you can become an Arahant then you cease. But with the bodhisattva way, you can choose to come back through the Bodhisattva vows.
When you cultivate continuously with faith sincerely, the Bodhi mind will continues to grow and progress leading to the realization of the 2nd stage of Bodhi mind development (Bodhi mind that subdue all afflictions). When you enter the 3rd stage, you are already so beautiful because by then you would have definitely gone beyond the sainthood way (or the Arahant stage) already. You realize your true mind and get to connect to your true nature (Bodhi mind that illuminates your true nature). The 4TH stage of Bodhi mind development is even more beautiful (Bodhi mind that renounces samsara), you don’t have to worry about how long the journey takes because you know samsara is not real. You have gone beyond the normal cultivation and reached the stage of cultivation of no thought, no mark and no dwelling as taught by the diamond sutra and the 6th Patriarch, Master Hui Neng (via his 6th Patriarch’s Platform sutra teaching).
When you cultivate at this 4th stage, your perfection of the 10 parami will happen by itself naturally and with ease. The 1st vow to liberate all sentient beings will help you to develop love and compassion and the 2nd vow will help you develop the perfection of renunciation. The 3rd vow develops wisdom. Precepts (Sila), Patience endurance (Khanti) and generosity (dana) paramis are all part and parcel of the meditative way (Dana, Sila and Bhavana) of cultivation which comes naturally. The balance of paramis of viriya, sacca, Adhiṭṭhāna and Upekkhā are also part and parcel of the meditative way once we have understood the cultivation via right view.
Sister Tammy shared her experience of her chanting Buddham Saranam Gachami…. Etc. while in Burma. She pondered its meaning. When she was young, she felt protected by her parents but later she came to know even they are subject to karma so they can’t really protect her. Instead the real protection is via taking refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) where the real teaching of the Buddha can be found. With the realization of this teaching one can transcend birth and death.
Brother Teoh further explained that only refuge safe is true protection. Taking refuge means seeking protection somewhere like a refugee seeking refuge in a foreign country. Parent’s protection is not real refuge because they themselves are also subject to birth and death, but with refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, the wisdom that you can have will lead to virtue and understanding which truly protects. Thus cultivating goodness (virtues) and avoiding evil gives the highest protection according to Buddha. With virtue and wisdom, you are incapable of harming others, you are kind, considerate and you have metta (love) and compassion. This parami protects you. With wisdom, you will follow advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil (bad karma) which lead to misery and instead cultivate goodness via cultivating Sila, Samadhi and Panna (Noble 8-fold path).
All the teachings are inter connected cumulating into wisdom. Wisdom comes from understanding the dhamma. According to the dhammapada, there is no refuge safe, not even in the mountains or temples, the only refuge safe is in the triple gem, where you can find the 4 noble truths (which is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching). Taking refuge is also to cultivate affinity with triple gem, whereby life after life when you come and there are conditions, you will meet up with the Buddha, his enlightened disciples and his teachings. Even without the sasana, you will have the conditions to meet up with them if they are around. You will still connect. When you take the Bodhisattva vows, you will be able to come regardless of the existence has sasana or not. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain when you take the Bodhisattva vows. With faith and sincerity, these vows will take you along the path of dhamma and becomes a true gem to serve you well.
It was in 1971 when Brother Teoh started his probe into the mystery of life. He loved looking at the night sky. His mind was contemplative knowing that he was just like a speck of dust in this planet. The universe is so immense and there is basically no boundary in this universe. Being so insignificant he inquired: who am I? What am I? Why am I here? His inner voice told him to meditate to understand although at that time he did not know what dhamma and meditation is as yet. But because of his past cultivation he knew as a kid, he was not normal as others. Almost everything he did was like opposite of the popular convention of society. He looked at things differently. That was why he could understand truth very fast. When he inherited his past cultivation’s understanding later, his nature came to know that, truth is always the opposite of the world’s popularly accepted convention. All that is enticing in this world do not last. For everything is impermanent, goes the way of nature, ends up in suffering, because without wisdom you will cling. All is merely an illusion (a world of consciousness) which come and go, arise and pass away. Your deluded mind perceives, attach, clings and creates misery. But with dhamma, all these cease to delude and deceive you.
Sister Padmasuri talked about her daughter abroad who misses them (parents) and still cry. As an undergraduate who is emotional it is normal to cry. All this is part and parcel of life. How to deal with such life situation? Bro Teoh shared that we need to understand, what is emotion? Emotion pertains to mental feeling which develops into good and bad emotion according to our views. All the good memories with parents are accumulated. When you are alone abroad, when you recall those good memories you will miss them. It is natural for human beings without wisdom to be emotional. But with dhamma, you understand that these are just emotions borne of memory (thoughts) and the Buddha’s advice is not to attach. When there is condition you can be with them, without condition you accept it. When parents are not around, you can develop positive reflection like, I can be independent to survive alone when parents are not around. This is good training. Technology is beautiful and helpful, we can use it (social media) to contact one another even though far away.
The wise verses the intellectual with scholarly knowledge. The latter needs to put into practice what they have learned (knowledge). With the right teacher, you can reflect and investigate into truth. When you realize that they stand up to investigation your faith and spiritual zeal will be strengthened. You will be more diligent in your practice to become a better person. This is the real change. The real dhamma will arise when you are mindful. With dhamma, you are different from those with mere knowledge. You will see clearly with awareness, the 3 evil roots as they arise, your own selfishness, greed, delusion etc. and you are determined to change via following the advice of the Buddha to abandon those wrong views and bad habits borne of heedless living. You will develop right speech, actions, and thoughts and cultivate virtues. You are incapable of negativity, you will keep to your precepts via heedful living. You will do your duty well, and you can count your good blessings, as with dhamma, you can love and care not only for yourself, but others as well. If you have the means, you can pamper yourself and your loved ones. But don’t crave to indulge when there are no more conditions to have them. Enjoy and live the good life when you have the means and conditions to have them.
(Above draft is prepared by Sis Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 181213||
Brother Teoh read through last Thursday (6 Dec ) class outline short notes.
Brother Teoh advised all Kalyanamittas to attentively read through this outline short notes which are very important (just as important as the earlier Heart sutra short notes). These outline short notes teaching by Brother Teoh are mostly linked to real life situations. Whereas the heart sutra’s short notes teachings are mainly the essential dhammas as taught by the Buddha and they are important understanding to develop the sainthood way cultivation, leading to the realization of arahantship. To cultivate the Bodhisattva way one has to go deeper via following the blue book, “cultivating the Bodhisattva way” and the other Mahayana sutras such as the 6th Patriarch platform sutra, the Diamond sutra and the Surangama sutra.
The Bodhisattva way’s teaching is much deeper and much more profound. Understanding the Diamond sutra’s teaching can enable one to cultivate at a very different level which is way beyond the sainthood way. Sainthood way only touches on the realization of the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non self nature. However, the Diamond sutra and 6th Patriarch platform sutra’s teachings as taught by Buddha and Master Hui Neng brings you directly to the true mind to develop your cultivation thereby bypassing all the unnecessary thought based meditation.
A lot of cultivators cultivating the sainthood ways are using their thought to develop their meditation. Not understanding what sati is, they use thoughts rampantly. Most of them do not have proper teachers to guide them, thus ending up deviating and entangling themselves in thought based techniques and methods of cultivation. Most of them develop the focusing and concentration (Samantha meditation) via one pointedness concentration, eventually leading them astray. Not understanding that only wisdom frees the mind.
To cultivate the Bodhisattva way, you must also go through the sainthood way first. The Bodhisattvas develop profound understanding but not merely to be enlightened via the sainthood way only. They cultivate to penetrate and realize all dharmas, develop the perfection, not only to be enlightened, but fully enlightened, after perfecting all aspects of virtues, understanding and wisdom. Here virtue is not only the usual avoiding of evil and doing good. They have to perfect them all – the 10 perfections. It is a very extensive and rewarding cultivation. With this understanding, you will come beautifully life after life as per what is stated in the heart sutra, ‘true emptiness is wonderful existence’. Meaning when one has realized true emptiness, Life is not only meaningful but becomes wonderful. You can live life to the fullest, experience all of the pristine beauty and wonders of life. You are most of the time happy. You are blessed and grateful with all the virtues and understanding you received from your rather beautifully cultivated karmic and spiritual natures. They will support you all the way.
When you cultivate the Bodhisattva way via the six patriarch platform sutra’s teaching, it will brings you directly to the state of no thought. There is complete silence and awareness only. You will realize your true mind, which is beyond your mundane mind. All of your speeches, thoughts and actions are based on the profound understanding developed. As you stabilized your wisdom and understanding, you will come to realize the stage of no mark. There is no mark of a self cultivating, no mark of living beings, and no mark of dhamma. Everything isn’t what you think. The form and mind is unreal. When you have this understanding, you would finally progress to realize the final stage as an advance Bodhisattva to realize the last hallmarks of Master Hui Neng’s teaching of having a mind with non-dwelling. The nature then shines forth, not dwelling anywhere but just aware, either in specific phenomena awareness or spacious awareness without a centre. You will know that the mundane mind is not real. It is just a tool for you to use, thus you are not deluded by it, and you will also know that the form and mind is subject to karma. Hence you will do your duty, perfecting your karmic and spiritual nature. With this understanding, you are a completely a different class of cultivator.
For you to have the condition to be born a human being is already very rare and to encounter the Buddha dharma and the higher teaching of the bodhisattva way is even more rare. You must be very blessed with good karmic past. Or else you won’t be able to hear all these special dhamma.
This window of opportunity when the sasana is still around is very precious, you should determine strongly with faith, understanding and sincerity to go this way, to have this understanding so that life after life, whether you choose to come or you have to come, this understanding is present.
One of the kalyanamitta (Brother Kok Loon) who came for dhamma sharing just about a year ago, shared his experience. He acknowledges his mundane mind. He was then able to be more aware and can see his own fears and delusion. He then turns inward to inquire, “Who am I, what am I”?
Brother Teoh stresses the importance of training one’s mind to listen attentively and mindfully so that it will serve you well. When you acknowledge your mundane mind with wisdom, you can use it to arise right thought, speech, action and livelihood via cultivating the 4 right efforts and right views with regards to law of karma and mind. Then you will not be heedless and deluded like before. Neither good nor bad. Not blaming but understanding. You needs to train your mind to be aware and heedful to cultivate following the steps stated in avijja sutta. The avijja sutta is a good sutta to check your cultivation.
With faith, sincerity and diligence, you will awaken. With these, you will cultivate appropriately and persevere along the dhamma path, whereby you just do until sati comes. You will know when sati is established. Mindfulness (awareness) is vital for you to investigate the dhamma. When you realize the dhamma stands up to investigation, your faith strengthens. You then develop viriya to cultivate diligently then you will have joy and understanding to see the benefits of what you do. You will know this is the right path leading to wholesomeness, virtues and good life. It also transforms you completely, personality wise, character wise and understanding wise to become a blessing to all.
Money cannot buy you wisdom and dhamma understanding. The user of money is most importance. If the user is wise, money becomes useful and wholesome. Not when you have to sacrifice your precious time and life to chase after money until your health is affected. You need to have the balance.
When you have developed the dhamma understanding, money will come on its own. You need to have virtue and generosity to receive karmic wealth. Without it, money won’t come. Not with your greed and delusion. With dhamma, your virtue and generosity will be there to bring forth the money. You will have good blessings and everything will go your way. If you do your duty well, you will have good children, good parents, good kalyanamittas, good bosses and colleagues because you have been good to these people in the past. Your subordinates will support and sacrifice for you.
Brother Teoh shared that in this life, his form and mind is truly blessed. It has nothing to do with luck but mainly through dhamma understanding which brings about the wonderful inheritance from his well cultivated karmic and spiritual natures. This is what we truly need, to become beautiful human beings.
Brother Teoh further shared how Sister Padmasuri develop the understanding of her students and others after she has developed understanding of herself via being heedful. When she marked the exam papers of her students, instead of seeing just their grammar and points, she can feels her student’s mind states and understanding of life in their writings and expressions. Brother Teoh’s lower six’s GP form teacher once commented on his essay as, “Rather deeply thought out”. His thoughts were deep and he understood life deeply even at that early age. After having develop mindfulness and awareness, you will start to know who you are, what you are and how you interact with the world and how you live your life and response to situation.
Brother Teoh developed most of his understanding via his own contemplative wisdom. He contemplate constantly and deeply into the dhamma. His teachers’ didn’t really teach him much because brother Teoh was able to pick up the important truths that they shared while listening and talking to them.
When he came out to share his understanding, his nature just inquire, how can he let kalyanamitta who attend his class, understand the dhamma. When he inquire and reflected, on what the kalyanamitas need to develop the understanding, he realized that his nature is ahead of time. At first he thought, everyone was like him. But when he started to share the dhamma in 2004, he realized hardly anyone understood what he shared. That’s why he has to reverse his sharing by going back to basic. Starting from basic dhamma leading to the understanding of the essential dhamma (linking them all together) then only go on with the teaching of the 4 noble truth and its 3 turnings cumulating to the 3 types of corresponding wisdom.
If you cultivate correctly, you will develop your own understanding. You can then share through your own style and understanding with others.
Who are you? In the Buddha’s final summary of the first noble truth, the Buddha said, ‘It is due to our self-delusion that condition us to grasp and cling to the 5 aggregates of form and mind, thinking it is you and it is real that conditioned our suffering. With self-delusion, grasping arise leading to suffering. 5 aggregates of form and mind, 1st aspect of who are you and what are you: As a human being, you have a form aggregate which is your physical body and a Consciousness which is your mind trapped inside. There are 4 aggregates of mind: namely feeling, perception, sankhara and consciousness. This 5 aggregates are impermanent, dependent originating, hence empty and not so real. It is not a permanent unchanging entity but it is subject to karma.
When you are conscious you can interact with the world with your senses. You need to meditate to understand if this is you. If it is impermanent and you deludedly cling via worrying about it (your physical form) getting old, sick, and die you will suffer. Thus the 5 daily contemplations are vital.
The form and mind comes about through the three conditions of having a physical body, consciousness and karmic force. Without any one of this, death happens. It is a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for you to come to this world to live and experience life, meditate and realize deeply who you truly are.
Within this 5 aggregates of form and mind, you can use it to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness and this is the only way for the purification of being, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentations, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path and the realization of nibbana.
Four foundations of mindfulness:
1st foundation – kayanupassana: mindfulness of the kaya (physical body).
2nd foundation – vedananupassana: mindfulness of feelings.
3rd foundation – cittanupassana: mindfulness of the mind states.
4th foundation – dhammanupassana: mindfulness of dhamma.
Brother Teoh has shared these 5 aggregates of Form and Mind teachings back in 2005. The transcript book containing this sharing will soon be printed for free distribution to all. This book explains clearly what this 5 aggregates of Form and Mind is. It also teaches you how to see form, the unreality of form and see beyond form.
How does the 5 mental aggregates of Form and Mind arise? How does the external forms enter your mind? Perception brings external form into the mind. The moment you perceive external form, the 4th aggregate (sankhara) becomes active. Law of dependant origination is related to this 5 mental aggregate of form and mind which is happening at every moment of sense experience. Every moment of seeing/hearing etc., there is this 5 mental aggregate of form and mind arising and passing away. The 12-links or law of dependent origination happens very fast, it is multi-dimensional; sometimes the links are not completed.
The 12 links:
Avijja pacaya sankhara – ignorance conditions mental activities. Due to your delusion and not understanding the truth, you think a lot. Thus creating contact with the mind. Your views, likes and dislikes create thinking and then mental volition etc.
Sankhara pacaya vinanam – Mental activities via contact conditions pure mental consciousness. Vinanam is pure consciousness. The moment you input your content of consciousness via your views, opinions and conditioning, the 5 mental aggregates of Form and Mind (Namarupa) will arise.
Vinayam pacaya nama rupa – mental consciousness conditions Namarupa …….
(Above draft is prepared by Sister Phey Yuen).
|Teoh Thu 181206||
The main purpose of the Buddha’s teaching is to help living beings overcome their life problems and be free from all suffering. Especially mental suffering of fear, lamentations, sorrow, as well as confronting the realities of birth old age, sickness and death as experience in life. Our physical body goes the way of nature. When you don’t understand this law of nature, you will have wrong view, attaching to the body thereby worrying about this body of our getting old, sick and die. You need to apply the dhamma (the 5 daily contemplations) to overcome this wrong thoughts and when you understand it, there is less suffering and your mental states are more calm and peaceful. Then when you have progressed along the path of dhamma the 7 enlightenment factors will keep on arising. You are mindful, heedful and peaceful, your actions, speeches and thoughts are in accordance with the right views borne of wisdom. You will have yonisomanasikara (wise attention) at the moment of sense experiences. You are then able to communicate and act appropriately and beautifully with people through the 3 ways of right conduct after having diligently cultivated the 4 right efforts to purify the mind. With the daily mindfulness cultivated you will have sense restraint, leading to the 3 ways of good conduct to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness within life itself. With sati sampajana stabilized, you will have clarity of mind to develop the understanding and wisdom. Thus you will awaken and transform.
The 3 important qualities of mind for progress in cultivation and meditation are: Faith, sincerity and diligence.
Faith (Saddha) in the Buddha and his teaching via knowing clearly who He is and how unique and special a being the Buddha is and how great his teaching is.
With the above 3 qualities of mind you can then use the Avijja sutta to further check on your progress along the path of dhamma. Avijja sutta highlighted 10 important steps leading to enlightenment in the here and the now. As kalyanamittas, most of you would have completed the first 4 steps of:
Having associated with noble friends and dhamma friends.
With dhamma friends, you will have the conditions to constantly listen to the true dhamma to straighten your view and develop the faith.
You will then have Faith in the Triple Gem.
With faith comes the development of the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) via having cultivated the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom of suttamaya panna and cintamaya panna.
With yonisomanasikara, mental hindrance won’t arise, mind won’t stir. You are calmer, and will have the stability of mindfulness to see things as they are. You are diligent in cultivating sati sampajana (ever mindful and constantly meditative). When mindfulness and clear comprehension has stabilized, it further leads to sense restraint. Sense restraint enables you to develop the 3 ways of right conduct. By then you would have realize at least Sotapanaship.
As you move on practice, you can cultivate the satipatthana (or the 4 foundations of mindfulness) with relative ease because of your stability of daily mindfulness already developed. You will find that the teaching is easy to understand and those Enlightenment factors keep arising. Sati (1st enlightenment factor) is always there. You then use it to investigate dhamma (dhammavicaya, the 2nd enlightenment factor). You are able to reflect and contemplate constantly to develop understanding to straighten your view. When you realize that the dhamma always stands up to investigation, your faith is deeply strengthened and this will conditions viriya, the spiritual zeal (the 3rd enlightenment factor) to arise. You will then cultivate diligently to experience piti (spiritual joy, the 4th enlightenment factor). As you relax into it, your mind becomes calmer and more refined, you will then experience sukham (spiritual blissfulness of mind). If you continue to relax into it, the mind becomes more tranquil leading to the realization of the silent mind (passadhi, the 5th enlightenment factor). When you realize the silent mind (which is also your true mind), you will come to know clearly, who you are and what you are. You are home. There is wisdom. When passadhi is stabilized, the mind becomes collected and unwavering leading to Samadhi (the 6th enlightenment factor). Mind can then see things as they are and your memory, conditioning etc. won’t interfere. One can then insight into phenomena to realize the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non-self. This awakening and wisdom bring about the final (7th) enlightenment factor of Upekkha (equanimity borne of wisdom) whereby the mind becomes peaceful and equanimous because it understands. You will not react or become emotional anymore. Nothing affects you anymore. There is no more suffering. You are free. You can confront the 8 realities of life easily. Life is simple. You will come to understand that finally there is – ‘hey no you, hey no me’, only mighty nature rolling by.
One will see the power of wrong thought to divide via words, concepts and mundane conventions leading to dualities and conflict. Division will lead to chaos because one lack wisdom to bring about harmony. You will see these wrong thoughts clearly. The beauty of dhamma is, it can lead one to arise the right thoughts, speeches and actions, right livelihood, etc. borne of right views. One is able to apply dhamma in life via following the noble eightfold path to resolve all problems and issues amicably. Dhamma can liberate one’s mind, bringing about awakening in the here and the now. One is transformed from a heedless being to an enlightened being (an ariya) who is wise and very noble in all aspects of life, always heedful and mindful. One also has the embodiments of all the noble 8-fold path factors.
All ariyas have good conduct, upright conduct, wise and dutiful conduct. They do their duty well. They know form and mind is not real, but is subject to karma. Thus one can’t simply do things inappropriately while living life so having right duties to avoid all karmic negativity is very important for the Law of karma recognizes relationship and there is such thing as life, loved ones, right thoughts, speeches and actions etc. in life.
Within the mundane world, law of karma exists. Life itself has its own reality. But in true emptiness, the realization is different because it is the unconditioned wisdom. As stated in the Heart Sutra, in true emptiness there is no old age, no sickness and no death. Within ultimate reality or in true emptiness, there is ‘hey no you hey no me’. No one is born, no one sick, no one old and no one dies. There is also no 4 noble truth: no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation and no path leading to cessation of suffering. When one realize these profound truth of the conditioned and the unconditioned one will awaken and one will know how to live the noble life of an ariya beautifully. With this understanding, you won’t attach and cling deludedly to the conditioned world and the phenomenal world of consciousness. In the Diamond Sutta, the Buddha said, “everything is conditioned dhamma. And all conditioned dhamma are not real, impermanent, and lead to suffering, empty and non-self. They are dreamlike, illusionary, like bubble (arising and gone) and shadows”. Feeling is like bubble, arise and pass away very fast.
It is one’s mind through ignorance which clings and develops sorrow leading to suffering.
You can have faith and confidence in the Buddha and his teaching through understanding clearly who Buddha is? He is not only enlightened but He is the fully enlightened one. To have such a wise and great teacher to be your guide, you will have great gratitude and deep respect for him and you will also deeply cherish his teaching because his teaching is so unique for it can brings about liberation from all suffering and delusions. Money cannot buy such understanding. Humanity needs this. Without comprehending this teaching, you will suffer in life. But with dhamma, everything becomes simple and clear. You are able to live life well. You will know the importance of following the advice of the Buddha, in regards to the law of karma to live the good life.
Faith leads to balas which is the unshakable faith. With sincerity, you won’t go astray and become gullible in your search for truth. Nothings frees except wisdom. Thus your sole purpose in cultivation is to develop wisdom. Without wisdom, Psychic powers only entangles you more. Through faith, sincerity and diligence in cultivation, the way will be there and you will definitely progress along the path of dhamma.
It is important to have kalyanamitta (dhamma friends) to help strengthen our bond and dhamma understanding via learning to counsel, motivate, encourage and help each other to develop the fellowship faith, sincerity and diligence to cultivate the dhamma. This brings about wholesomeness. It can also arise the causes and conditions, so that in future, there will be kalyanamittas who will motivate and help you to walk this path in return. They will share all their understanding with you just like what you did unto them now. We should count our good blessing and have gratitude for our ability to be part of the big kalyanamitta family.
Having true dhamma/noble friends, is an important prerequisite for enlightenment. Remind yourself to constantly listen to the true dhamma to develop the 1st turning wisdom of suttamaya panna. Then contemplate diligently to develop the 2nd turning wisdom of cintamaya panna to straighten your view and develop the initial wisdom to stabilize your faith in the triple gem. You will then be able to cultivate the rest of the cultivation following the avijja sutta steps leading to the enlightenment in the here and the now.
There are 10 important steps stated in the avijja sutta. As kalyanamittas, you would have completed at least the initial 4 steps via having kalyanamitta (noble friends) as the first step. The 5th step is to cultivate the daily mindfulness. The 6th step is sense restraint developed via cultivating the 4 right efforts. The 7th step is to arise the 3 ways of right conduct. The 8th step is cultivating the 4 foundations of mindfulness. The 9th step is when the 7 factors of enlightenment keep arising. The 10th step is knowledge and vision, leading to enlightenment in the here and the now. In this era with the Buddha sasana still around, it is quite easy to realize such truth.
Meditation reporting – A sister asked regarding the meaning of sati being defined as ‘awareness before the knowing’. She realizes in daily activities, she only is aware after something happens. Brother Teoh answered that it is good for her to ask – for him to know where she is at with her practice. He further explained what Sati means. Awareness before the knowing mean awareness before perceiving something. For example, just be aware of your hand movement. It is not the concept of perceiving what the thing is. But just aware. Mind and movement move as one. For example, body and mind as one while bowing. The moment you are without thought, you are already aware because you are not perceiving. The 4 supports for awareness based meditation is: relax, aware, 24 hours and trust.
Relax body and mind and let things be. Awareness is mindfulness, being silent because without thought you already aware. Whatever heedless thinking, let it arise, don’t fight, control or suppress it, just let it be and it will slow down. These are habitual tendencies arising due to your lack of mindfulness. When mental hindrances arise, they hinder mind from becoming aware. But if you just let it be, and don’t give it meaning, it will die down and you will experience the tranquility or stillness of mind after that. Bow until body and mind as one. Do until mindfulness comes. Then the form and mind will know what sati is, when it has arisen. There is no thought involved so don’t try to know for thought based mediation is doomed to fail. Sati is there when everything you do, you are aware. Mind sweeping method in combination with metta can also help one to decondition the heedless thinking.
Train via anapanasati until the awareness stabilized, and breathing has become so subtle until the silent mind arise. Mind then enters sati. After coming out of meditation, you will come to realize that your mind (awareness) and all your physical movements, they move as one. Your mundane mind needs to be trained. The 5 spiritual faculties are vital. Just do and don’t try to know, until sati arise.
When you live life, you have to perceive and interact with others. Mindfulness must come naturally. Thus you train during formal meditation or while at home when you are alone, when your senses are not so active. You need to develop awareness of all actions and movements in daily life. Maintain awareness at the heart area, aware of outside from inside. This is your new way of living life – heedful living. You can’t think when you are aware. When you cultivate – just do (walk, standing, sitting and lying down etc. aware), you do until the sati comes. Not until your mind has entered sati, you can’t do daily mindfulness. When sati is there, whether walking, bending, stretching, etc. you are always aware. Sati becomes very natural for it has become a part of you already. You then use it in living. Then only your sati sampajana (or mindfulness and clear comprehension) practices can come to be. There must be a sincerity of purpose – that is you are not doing this to develop fame or psychic ability, but to train the mind, to develop wisdom only. This is daily mindfulness and it can see a lot of things thereby arising the self-knowledge or initial wisdom needed to awaken. You can see how you (the form and mind) function as a human being. How you become emotional, fearful, sad etc. How your wrong views and opinions condition you to react to sense experiences to arise the duality of likes and dislikes which are your mental hindrances of sensual desire and ill-will. You can see them in real life. You know how you become afflicted, when things don’t go your way. How when your thoughts project, fear, worry and anxiety arise to makes you miserable/suffer. You will come to know that thoughts are respond to memories. Hence acting according to memory is not acting at all! Instead you should act with wisdom and understanding (right view). Right view with regards to the law of karma (karma niyama) and law of mind (citta niyama). We are what we are because of our karma. So karma is very important. Thus you need to understand what constitutes good and wholesome karma. The 3 ways right conduct are vital. Buddha advices us to contemplate this law of karma via his 5 daily contemplations. To take care of karma we must follow the advice of Buddha to avoid all evil, cultivate goodness and purify our mind to arise a beautiful karmic nature. To avoid evil it is vital for us to keep the 5 precepts, deeply reflecting on each precepts to understand clear why we must keep our precepts well.
Why do you take the precept to abstain from killing? It is because those who kill are evil people with the 3 evil roots. If you break this precept, it constitutes evil karma. Precepts is to protect you so that you will not be miserable or afflicted by these potential evil karmic fruition. Do good begets good, do evil begets evil. You reap what you sow. Thus you need to be mindful to cultivate wholesomeness instead. Virtuous thoughts, actions, and speech bring about goodness. When you are sincere, kind, generous and caring towards others, others will respond the same to you. For parents, if you sacrifice for your kids and do your duties well, in future, you will have parents who will provide, sacrifice and care for you. This is karma. Thus it is important to do your duty. For children, if you care for your parents, in future, you will have kids who will take care of you.
Thus be determined to follow the advice of the Buddha. Make vows for causes and conditions, that life after life when you come, you will have these right views and understanding. You can follow the Bodhisattva vows as given by Brother Teoh in his blue transcript book – ‘Cultivating the Bodhisattva way’. You are supposed to renew your vows daily, then later once a week, then once a month, and finally repeatedly once over 3 to 6 months. If you do this with understanding sincerely and invoke power of merits for causes and conditions for it to arise, then even when there is no Buddha sasana, you will still have these right views and understanding when you come, either by choice or by karmic.
When daily mindfulness is there, you will have clarity of mind to perceive, to be aware and move. There is no more fear and anxiety. You only perceive when needed. There is no need to worry about your problems because no amount of worry can help you solve your problem (won’t help). Also when you worry, you are not aware, you are preoccupied with those thoughts or lost in thought. For example when you are driving and thinking, in those moments of heedlessness, you could end up in an accident. Thus you need to discipline yourself especially when driving. It is not wise to get addicted to phone messages or calls which is dangerous. If you have to please stop at the road side to answer urgent calls or wait until you are home to do so. To be on the safe side, don’t use phone whilst driving unless it is hands free.
It is important to listen attentively, then reflect to develop the understanding. Determined to be constantly mindful. Brother Teoh advised us to cultivate daily mindfulness. The moment you know you are lost in thought, you should anchor your awareness back to the movements (physical, mental and nature’s) in daily life. For example, when you observe people, your awareness and their activities are as one (specific phenomena awareness). Like the moving car, your awareness and the car move as one.
You need to be tested in real life – your relationship with nature, society and fellow human beings. You need to interact with them. While living life, if you are aware you can see clearly your own delusion, selfishness, emotions etc. You also understand how your mind stir because of your wrong views and self-delusion. When you have this understanding, your mind need not stir or react to sense experience like before. The mind reacts and stirs because of your like and dislike or mental hindrances of sensual desire and ill will. Without these wrong thoughts, you won’t have mental hindrances. Instead with mindfulness, you can live your life heedfully. No more panicking nor reacting. You are peaceful within, always aware with little or no thought when you have developed the initial wisdom through listening and reflecting on the dhamma. You will have the right view to ‘accept people as they are’ and ‘the world as the world’. You will smile more, have gratitude towards all things. You will be more sensitive, sincere, kind, contented and appreciative of life. There will no more conflict.
If you are contented, there is no more desire or craving. Your mind won’t always want things your way because you are contented with the way things are and your karmic nature in life. Without wisdom, the ego always wants to become something better leading to cravings via your strong and deluded views.
Contentment is your greatest wealth. A rich person not contented is poor because he still wants (has cravings). Brother Teoh shared about him retiring early via having contentment – with enough savings to live a simple, yet decent and relatively comfortable life. He does not need much to sustain himself and his family after having paid his mortgages. Brother Teoh retired in May 2001, after his eldest daughter graduated; when he did not have any more burden. He is contented with what he has and spends time do things he likes to do. Life is simple. Later he came to realize after his retirement is, he makes more money after retiring as compared to when he was working. He did it through investment. With wisdom, one will also know how to grow one’s money through proper investment understanding.
(Above draft is prepared by Sister Phey Yeun)
|Teoh Thu 181129||
We are indeed fortunate to have the Buddha’s teaching because it teaches us the secret of living life well. It can helps transform us for the better, both personality and character and understanding wise to live a noble life without having to suffer. The mind which is calm, peaceful and aware can understand and appreciate life deeply. Even though the body may go through old age, sickness and death, there is no more suffering because it understand that the body is impermanent and it goes the way of nature hence it is not me (non-self). Consciousness is the same, it come and go, a rise and fall away so it is also not me.
Though the form and mind is not real, it is still subject to kamma. So, we have to do our duties well otherwise, there will be suffering. The Buddha’s teaching covers all of the mundane and the supra mundane aspect of life.
Birth as a human being is very rare and to be able to listen to the true dhamma is even rarer.
Bro Kok Loon reported that though he did not take his dinner, he was not hungry. His meditation sitting was very easy, he was calm, peaceful and aware and he saw light during his meditation. There was no thought too. Bro Teoh explained that what Bro Kok Loon experienced was light nimitta. It can manifest or arise when the mind is calm, peaceful and aware. Bro Kok Loon felt very free and light too. If one can just continue to relax into it and maintain awareness, one will experience piti and joy. One will feel very good and rejuvenated (recharged).
Once one can develop the silent mind, one will experience peace and calm throughout the day. When the mind enters sati (which is an enlightenment factor), one can cultivate daily mindfulness in the midst of life. With specific phenomena awareness, everything will flow together in complete synchrony. One will then have little or no thinking most of the time and with that one can easily maintain heedfulness in the midst of life.
During the Buddha’s time, kasinas are objects of meditation used for developing concentration to experience a calm mind. If one keeps on focusing, one will develop samatha bhavana.
The four supports of meditation are relax into every mind state, maintain awareness (or silence of mind), stabilize it for as long as you can to maintain heedfulness throughout the day, and the final support is trust.
Whatever we give meaning to something, it becomes attachment. This will give rise to thinking without us knowing it for thought is response to memory. When we lack mindfulness and yonisomanasikara we will hold onto things. It is better to write down what we want to do so that we don’t have to keep on wanting to remember it.
Bro Teoh advises us to use our brain like a computer with RAM (random access memory). Only when we need to use it, we retrieve it from our memory. Otherwise leave it there, don’t worry about it. Normal memory is necessary for us to live life but not to store psychological memories of fear & phobias, etc. that cause us so much suffering.
Sis Angie asked Bro Teoh if one should try to keep calm regardless of any situation that arises. Bro Teoh replied that when we try, it is the thought that is trying. We should learn how to use thought wisely. By doing so, we will be able to live life to the fullest and experience all the pristine beauty and wonders of life. The mind is our tool to help us live life so use it appropriately to arise the right thought to do wholesome things so that we can be a blessing to all.
There are two types of mind, the mundane mind and the true mind. There is no such thing as no mind. The knowing of no thought is still a thought. But for one who has realized the supra mundane, that awareness borne of a free mind with wisdom, has no concept, no word, nothing. The stillness, silence and tranquility arising from such a free mind borne of wisdom is different from those who focus and concentrate their mind.
Heedfulness is awareness before the knowing. Once there is knowing, perception has arisen. The perception aggregate creates the knowing in the mind.
Bro Teoh went over our last Thursday class (22nd November, 2018) outline short notes as prepared by Sis Soo Yee and Sis Sandra. This short notes of last Thursday’s talk are very comprehensive and it covered topics reported by Sis Wendy: – the 5 ways to abandon wrong thoughts, what constitute evil? and the four foundations of mindfulness (all explained in a very clear and detailed manner).
(Above draft was prepared by Sister Phey Yuen)
Session 1: Puja and meditation
The class was conducted at Brother Tune and Sister Padmasuri’s house. It started with Puja and a 30-minute of silent meditation with simple instructions from Brother Teoh.
Session 2: Reporting of Meditation and Q & A.
Sis Wendy shares that through meditation, she was able to experience more moments of peace and better control of her mind states in day-to-day living.
Bro Teoh explains, it is nature’s laws (the panca niyamas) that govern all of life and existence. So whatever that arise within the moment is the reality or ‘What Is’ – which we can’t go against, otherwise we will suffer via wanting things our way which is not nature’s way. If we have the understanding of these truth as taught by the Buddha, then we can bring about possibilities of change (for the better). Hence, life need not progress along its initially perceived path (no longer seem out of control).
Sis Wendy said, on occasions when confronted with dissatisfaction/unhappiness, the mind automatically (or naturally) returns to her breathing (anapanasati), which brings about calmness and clarity of mind immediately. Thus enabling her to not cling onto the displeasure/frustration (conditioned by her wrong thoughts), thus allowing her to move on with her daily activities and cultivation.
Bro Teoh pointed out that this is one of the 5 ways (as taught by the Buddha) to abandon wrong thoughts. This 3rd way can stops the projection of thoughts (sankhara), and allows the mind to return to its original state of mindfulness of the in and out breath. However, this type of initial peace is usually not potent enough to root out all of our defilements once and for all. When encountering similar situations, this response is repeated over and over again, and at each recurrence the mind is still initially affected by the negativity, before returning to awareness of the breath to develop the peace within. To progress further, we will need to move on to the next category of cultivation. That is, we will need to develop the stability of wisdom via the 4th way, to root out completely the cause of the dissatisfaction/unhappiness/delusion, so that it will no longer has power to affect us.
5 ways to abandon wrong thoughts as taught by the Buddha:
What constitute evil?
The 3 evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion are the roots of all evil. They are also called the 3 poisons. They arise as defilements within our deluded mundane mind. If any of these 3 evil roots exist in our mind, it will cause us to respond to our life with evil intentions and it will also make us evil and kill us (spiritually). People who break the 5 precepts are evil people with the 3 evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion. That is how they can end up killing and causing harm to others; deceive and cheat people; commit sexual misconduct, lie and become heedless via partaking intoxicants and drugs.
The 3 evil roots of:
The 4 FOUNDATIONS or ESTABLISHMENTS OF MINDFULNESS:
KAYA NUPASSANA (1st foundation)
Anapanasati – mindfulness of the in and out breath to develop the stability of sati.
Then move on to the cultivation of the Mindfulness of the 4 postures (Standing aware, sitting, walking and lying down also aware).
Then move on to cultivate sati sampajanna – Daily Mindfulness of all actions and all movements connecting the 4 postures in the present moment to develop the continuous mindfulness (ever-mindful) with clear comprehension of the following:
Mindfulness of the 4 elements (wind, heat, earth, water) within our physical body that goes the way of nature. This cultivation can paves the way for yoniso manasikara or wise-attention or wisdom at the moment of sense experience to arise. Can also link it to the 5 daily contemplations as advice by the Buddha)
Mindfulness of the 32 parts of our body that comes together in order for the physical body to perform the function of a living being (analogy of dismantling a bullock cart to break free from the self-delusion of having a permanent unchanging form/self-entity)
Mindfulness of the 9 stages of cemetery decomposition. When the form is devoid of the consciousness then it goes the way of nature. It will decay and break up until finally it is completely gone. (To overcome lustfulness or attachment to beautiful form).
VEDANA NUPASSANA (2nd Foundation)
Mindfulness of feeling: When feeling has been conditioned into craving (sensual desire and ill-will or likes and dislikes), be aware. This is to inform us that the mind has “stirred” or ‘reacted’ to sense experience to arise the first 2 mental hindrances of sensual desire and ill-will due to our wrong view.
Without giving the emotion/thought anymore mental energy to move or project further, the mind will return to its original state of inner peace and awareness before the stirring; then it will be conducive to investigate deeper into the workings of our mind (via CITTANUPASSANA – the next step) in order to see things as they truly are (without the interference of our views and opinions, traditions, belief systems, fears/bias/society’s conditioning, etc.) That is to:
insight into the 3 universal characteristics inherent in all phenomena
– Careful observation of every experience, and examine the causes/conditions supporting its unfolding. How fear, envy and jealousy arise; how our mind stirred and reacts to sense experiences via our wrong views and conditioning.
Then act with wisdom and clarity following Noble 8-Fold path to resolve all matters amicably.
CITTA NUPASSANA (3rd Foundation)
Mindfulness of the content of consciousness
– Beyond feeling, which is just 1 of the aggregates of mind there are other mind states which are deeper.
> Consciousness + its Content = Thought; before the content goes in it is just the pure consciousness.
>the content of consciousness depends on our views and opinion of things. Without wisdom there is no equanimity hence the mind will stir and react to create duality of positive and negative mind states.
> Be aware of the Content of consciousness; – whether the consciousness is will the 3 evil roots or not? The distracted state of consciousness, as the distracted state; the quieted state of consciousness, as the quieted state; the state of consciousness not quieted, as the state not quieted; the free state of consciousness, as freed and the un freed state of consciousness as un freed, etc. This is for us to trace the origination factors leading to the cultivation of Dhammanupassana – the next step.
DHAMMA NUPASSANA (4th Foundation)
Mindfulness of the 5 mental hindrances (sensual desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor / lethargy of mind, restlessness of mind and doubt)
– Here O Bhikkhus, when sensuality is present, a bhikkhus knows with understanding: I have sensuality or when sensuality is not present, he knows with understanding: I have no sensuality. He understands how the arising of the un-arisen sensuality comes to be; he understands how the abandoning of the arisen sensuality comes to be; and he understand how the non-arising in the future of the abandoned sensuality comes to be.
Mindfulness of 5 aggregates of form and mind, in its 2 aspects >
PHYSICAL FORM with consciousness trapped inside + MIND aggregates of feeling, perception, content of consciousness (sankhara) and consciousness.
– 2nd aspect (as a mental 5 aggregates): Mind interacting with mental form
MENTAL FORM – the external mental form brought into the mind via the perception aggregate.
MIND – feeling, perception, content of consciousness (sankhara) and consciousness.
Mindfulness of the 6 internal and 6 external sense bases or 18 sense realms
+ 6 external sense datas (shape, colour and form, sound/vibration, object of touch, scent, tastes, mental/mind objects) => arising of their 6 respective types of sense door consciousness of seeing/hearing/tactile/ smelling/ tasting and thinking or thought consciousness.
– being aware or mindful of all these allows us to trace the origination factors leading to our ability to straighten our views via understanding to retrospectively reverse it.
Example are you expecting an angry person to listen to you or be kind and considerate towards you? What causes this person to be angry? He is just the way he is! That is an angry person will do angry thing. Selfish person will do selfish thing. Deluded or violent person will do deluded or violent thing. People are just the way they are!
Or are you expecting the world or things to always go your way? It can’t because it goes the way of nature following nature’s laws and it can’t be otherwise because once the conditions are such thing will be such and that is the reality or ‘What IS’ – the ISNESS of things. That is, the world is the world! When conditions are like that things will be like that.
Mindfulness of the 7 factors of enlightenment (satta bojjhanga) >
#1 Sati – mindfulness/attentiveness/or just an awareness before the arising of thoughts
#2 Dhamma Vicaya – Dhamma investigation
#3 Viriya – spiritual tenacity/energy/zeal to cultivate this noble path
#4 Piti – spiritual joy
#5 Passadhi – tranquility / stillness of mind – the silent mind.
#6 Samadhi – stabilized mindfulness / collected and unwavering mind
#7 Upekkha – equanimity of mental formations borne of wisdom.
Mindfulness of 4 noble truths via cultivating its 3 turnings and its 12 modes to realize its 3 types of corresponding wisdom of sutta mayapanna, cinta mayapanna and bhavana mayapanna)
[2nd] to prevent the arising of the yet-to-arise “unwholesome action, speech and thought”
[3rd] to cultivate the appropriate right action, speech and thought that are still not in you
[4th] to continuously refine upon the wholesomeness already in you, until they become perfected
Even though life is not so real (just a phenomena world of consciousness or conditions arising phenomena passing by; arising and disappearing). As real as it can be the present moment is so transient; split second it is gone. Moment to moment life passes by – what are you doing? Are you mindful of the moment which is the only reality in life? But there is such a thing as a Human Being or a living being (Form and Mind) subjected to Karma and Karma recognises relationships so we must act wisely and appropriately. You will understand all these, and do your duty accordingly when you have realized the dhamma.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee and Sis Sandra)
|Teoh Thu 181115||
The class began with a review of the J Krishnamurti quote regarding “Why is one thoughtless?”
To think is painful/suffering
– It creates disturbances/opposition/go against established patterns
Realizing the pain of thought, the thinker becomes afraid to think;
– making effort instead to create patterns of thoughtlessness (“comfort zones” to rely on habitual tendencies born of fear)
The thinker and its efforts to try to use thought to overcome problems by reacting with fear, insecurity, anger, hatred, envy, jealousy etc. are the very cause of conflict and confusion in oneself
The thought is the thinker because the thought ‘thinks’ itself; it arise via response to memory. So there is no thinker behind the thoughts. We need awareness/sati/mindfulness to see all these clearly.
Usually it is just another thought, behind another thought, behind another thought…in endless loop or heedless thinking.
The untrained thinking or mundane mind creates incessant thoughts uncontrollably due to thoughtlessness or heedlessness via habitual tendencies and response from memory.
Awareness brings about order and clarity to the mind through wise-attention and right understanding to arise wholesome action (not heedless actions out of habit, built through fear/bias/conditioning etc.)
Meditation – is to train the mind to be aware and to stabilise it to develop the wisdom via its direct seeing.
It is crucial to understand what you are doing in the name of “meditation”
Applying the thought then sustaining the thought to focus/concentration on the object of meditation so that the mundane mind does not wonder off, inducing temporary peaceful mind states leading to strong concentration later on.
As a skilful means to develop awareness or sati <– This training is more useful e.g. Mindfulness of the in and out breath (Anapanasati) to establish mindfulness or sati (1st factor of enlightenment)
Upon training the mind in Sati, only then will we be able to see things as they are, help us to reflect and contemplate into truth to develop the initial wisdom of yoniso manasikara leading to sense restraint following the Avijja sutta.
The 4 foundations of mindfulness begins with kaya nupassana (mindfulness of our physical body)
Understanding the 4 noble truths in its 3 turnings:
Explains how ignorance (and its nutriment) comes to be via the avijja cycle, and how to reverse it through the enlightenment cycle:
Emphasises importance of Sati Sampajanna – daily mindfulness with 4 types of clear comprehension on:
The 5 spiritual faculties are:
– The above can enable a cultivator or any person to understand his spiritual teachings more easily
– In the absence of the above, the 5 mental hindrances will arise thereby hindering your mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace, inner calmness and inner awareness. The 5 mental hindrances are:
Mind Sweeping method is a very good skilful means to help us decondition our heedless thinking
Bro Kok Loon shares his meditation experience and the arising of thoughts
1st aspect of the 5 aggregates of form and mind (as a human being)
FORM – here is the physical form.
MIND – its 4 aggregates of feeling, perception, content of consciousness (sankhara) and consciousness.
2nd aspect of the 5 aggregates of form and mind (as a mental 5 aggregates)
FORM – here is the external form (mental form) brought into the mind via the perception aggregate.
MIND – feeling, perception, content of consciousness (sankhara) and consciousness.
Daily Contemplations as recommended by the Buddha to all cultivator:
The first 3 are this his body of mine is of the nature to grow old, fall sick and eventually die;
When condition cease to be, there will be separation from our loved ones and the prized possessions we hold onto dearly;
We are all born of our Kamma, heir to our Kamma, condition and supported by our Kamma; we are what we are because of our Kamma. Understanding this we will take special care of karma via following the advice of the Buddha to:
Keeping our precepts to avoid all evil (stemming from roots of greed, hatred, self-delusion),
Cultivate whatever wholesomeness/goodness/virtue (right view/speech/action/livelihood/etc),
Cultivate daily mindfulness and meditate to purify the mind
The 3 types of cravings (tanha) that conditioned ones suffer in life are:
One of the sister who just attended the Thursday class last week, shared her experience from last week’s session, where she was able to maintain her Mindfulness for 4 days after that Thursday night’s meditation. Her mind states were very calm and peaceful with a lot of joy and clarity. She also shares that during those days, she hardly dream but on the last day she dreamt about her late father speaking to her. Brother Teoh rejoice and said to her: Sadhu!x3 and for her to have this ability, she must have had her past cultivation before otherwise she can’t experience such long period of mindfulness immediately after only 1 Thursday class meditation session.
(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)
|Teoh Thu 181108||
Bro Teoh emphasized the need of having a very stable daily mindfulness to enable one to be heedful in the midst of life. It is not only the sitting meditation that is important, but the cultivation of the daily mindfulness covering mindfulness of the four postures of standing, sitting, walking, and lying down as well as mindfulness of all activities (all actions and movements) one does in between these postures is most important. Besides training the mind in mindfulness, it must also has the 4 types of clear comprehension accompanying it.
The first type of clear comprehension is comprehension of sincerity of purpose. Our main purpose and intent is to develop wisdom via understanding the Buddha’s teaching to root out the three evil roots borne of self-delusion. The reason being ‘only wisdom frees the mind’. Focusing and developing energy fields to develop psychic ability is a deviation because it does not lead to true insight. However, if one has done it in one’s past cultivation, there is no harm in finding out provided one is not caught in the psychic aspect of such practices. If it arise as a by-product of the training then it is okay.
Next is clear comprehension of domain of meditation. Meditation is not just about sitting in a conducive place. It can be done in all postures, anywhere, anytime; so one should not be deluded that it can only be done in a retreat or temple environment. One can meditate in the midst of life and nature for life itself is the meditation. Meditation should lead to heedfulness, clarity of mind and wisdom.
The third type is clear comprehension of suitability. This means the most important place is here, the most important people are those around you and the most important time is now. Hence, one will not complain of the environment or the people you are with for not being able to do your meditation. Whatever we do, maintain mindfulness and bear in mind Dhammapada verses 21, 22 and 23 which explain very clearly the importance of mindfulness and heedfulness.
Bro Teoh related his earlier encounter with the Dhammasukha yahoo group of the United States. This encounter resulted in the publication of his email compilation book covering many important topics on meditation, the 3 turnings (first, second and third turning) of the Four Noble Truths (linking it to the 3 types of wisdom of sutta maya panna, cinta maya panna and bhavana maya panna), etc.
Bro Teoh encouraged fellow Kalyanamittas to access his mykalyanamitta https://broteoh.com website and go to ‘Menu’, then select ‘About’ to look for the Avijja Sutta (sutta on ignorant). It explains very clearly how living beings, without the understanding, fall into ignorance. It started off by saying, the `nutriments’ for avijja are the five mental hindrances (that hinder the mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace, inner calmness and inner awareness). Then the nutriment for the 5 mental hindrances is the 3 ways of bad conduct, etc. This is a very good sutta for all cultivators to check their cultivation.
To counter the 5 mental hindrances, the opposite five spiritual faculties are crucial. The 5 spiritual faculties of saddha, viriya, sati, samadhi and panna can enable one to develop the clarity of mind leading to enlightenment via their Sati and Samadhi to ‘see things as they are’ leading to the wisdom.
Life is uncertain so by following the Buddha’s advice to avoiding all evil, cultivate goodness/wholesomeness and purifying the mind, we can change our life for the better because via following the advice of the Buddha we are taking care of our karma which in turn takes care of us to give us the good life.
Bro Teoh also elaborated on each of the five mental hindrances and how they can lead one to be heedless and their inability to meditate in the midst of life. Ignorance will cause one to arise the 5 mental hindrances bringing about the three ways of bad conduct (via thought, speech and action).
The analogy of having wrong thoughts is like using a knife to hurt oneself and others instead of using it as a tool to help us live life. What are wrong thoughts? They are thoughts that condition our sorrows, lamentation, fears, insecurity and other mental negativity, etc. On the other hand, right thoughts borne of wisdom lead to virtue, kindness, harmony, happiness, peace, love and joy.
Bad conduct arises from lack of sense restraint. When one cannot see ones evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion arising in their mind during sense door perception, one will react out of habitual tendency. Lack of mindfulness and `ayoniso manisakara’ (lack of wise attention or right view and wisdom at the moment of sense experience) are the cause of the lack of sense restraints. All these will cause the avijja cycle to repeat itself again and again.
It is very important to have good dharma friends. With this one will have the condition to listen to the true dharma, leading to ones faith in the Triple Gems and the development of yoniso manasikara (initial wisdom borne of the 1st and 2nd turnings of the 4 Noble Truths). With yoniso manasikara we can cultivate sati sampajnna (daily mindfulness with clear comprehension) to develop the ability to cultivate the sense restraint needed to arise the 3 ways of good conduct. All these can then transform our lives beautifully, leading to a lot of wholesomeness and blessing – from then on, things will go our way most of the time. The mind will continues to have a lot of clarity leading to more understanding. With heedfulness and yoniso manasikara as our guide, nothing can make us stir our mind or unhappy like before. The faith in The Triple Gem will spur us to cultivate diligently and sincerely. Through constant listening to the dharma followed by constant reflection and contemplation, the understanding is stabilized leading to the realization of the 1st and 2nd turnings of The Four Noble Truths wisdom (suttamayapanna and cintamayapanna). This initial wisdom (yoniso manasikara) will keep on unfolding.
We begin to understand how important it is to take care of karma. As we do so, everything seems to go our way when we act without the craving or expectations that most people will have. As understanding keeps on deepening, we will have the wisdom to accord and flow without the constant strife that most people are facing. Life becomes meaningful and a true joy despite whatever situation one is in. One can then live life to the fullest. Get to experience all of the wonder and pristine beauty of life.
As we tread the path correctly with yonisomanasikara, sati sampajanna (daily mindfulness) and the 3 ways of good conduct, the seven factors of enlightenment will keep on arising upon us cultivating the 4 foundations of mindfulness. The essential dharma becomes very clear to the true cultivator and the cultivation of the 4 foundation of mindfulness becomes very easy because of the rather stable sati Sampajanna already developed.
Krishnamurti’s quote on `Finding Silence’ also matched what Bro Teoh has been teaching us all these while.
“If you have followed this inquiry into what is meditation, and have understood the whole process of thinking, you will find that the mind is completely still. In that total stillness of the mind, there is no watcher, no observer, and therefore no ‘experiencer’ at all; there is no entity who is gathering experience, which is the activity of a self-centred mind. Don’t say, “That is samadhi”—which is all nonsense, because you have only read of it in some book and have not discovered it for yourself. There is a vast difference between the word and the thing. The word is not the thing; the word door is not the door. So, to meditate is to purge the mind of its self-centred activity. And if you have come this far in meditation, you will find there is silence, a total emptiness. The mind is uncontaminated by society; it is no longer subject to any influence, to the pressure of any desire. It is completely alone, and being alone, untouched, it is innocent. Therefore there is a possibility for that which is timeless, eternal, to come into being. This whole process is meditation.”
The Buddha’s teaching is very powerful. It can awaken us if we understand how to cultivate correctly. The true mind can see things as they are; but this can only happen when thoughts cease and the mundane mind is completely still and not interfering. There is a vast difference between the word and the truth of what is being pointed at. The egoic mind can never understand that because truth has to be realized or awaken to by the silent mind each by themselves.
Death is a certainty. But before that happens, we should inquire – `Who dies? What dies?’ Then we can develop the wisdom to understand what death is and we will know how to die before we die.
(Draft outline short notes is prepare by Puan Chee)
|Teoh Thu 181025||
Bro Teoh emphasizes the importance of understanding the Avijja sutta. Avijja means ignorance. This sutta explained how ignorance comes to be and the importance of having good dhamma friends as a pre-requisite for enlightenment was clearly highlighted in this sutta.
When one listens to the true dhamma, one will develop the right view leading to yoniso manasikara (wise attention at the moment of sense experience). Without yoniso manasikara, one becomes deluded. One will react (or stir) at every moment of sense door consciousness and there will be no sense restraint. Contact leads to feeling and feeling condition craving when there is no yoniso manasikara or sense restraint and eventually the mind stirs. This leads to the arising of the 5 mental hindrances borne of the 3 evil roots. But with yoniso manasikara, one will have mindfulness and clear comprehension leading to sense restraint at the moment of sense experience.
Yoniso manasikara is developed through cultivating the 1st turning wisdom (suttamaya panna) via constantly listening to the true dhamma and the 2nd turning wisdom (cintamaya panna) via constant reflection and contemplation of the dhamma to stabilize our understanding. These 2 turnings wisdom, although not penetrative enough, but thisinitial wisdom is good enough to enable us to start our cultivation.
What is the nutriment (food) for avijja or Ignorance? Avijja feeds on the 5 mental hindrances, which is heedless living due to lack of wisdom. These mental hindrances are very powerful and could destroy or kill your life, leading to karmic downfall. Also the 3 evil roots keep arising. It also hinders your mind from entering the meditative state of inner peace, calmness and awareness.
The nutriment (food) for the 5 mental hindrances is the 3 ways of bad conduct (your wrong actions, speeches and thoughts) which arise due to lack of senses restraint. You become heedless and do wrong due to the 3 evil roots. The nutriment for the 3 ways of bad conduct is lack of sense restraint. The nutriment for your lack of senses restraint is due to your lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension. The nutriment for lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension is no having wise attention or consideration (yoniso manasikara) at the moment of sense experience. Finally, the lacking in wisdom/yoniso manasikara is because you never listen to true dhamma. This is due to you not having any true or good dhamma friends to encourage, motivate and counsel you and to share with you the importance of understanding the dhamma.
The reason Brother Teoh need to share Puan Chee’s daughter’s rather good message is to create the appropriate conditions needed to help other kalyanamittas. And this led to more kalyanamittas who had benefited from his dhamma sharings to also share their rather good experiences and advises. These people are the ones who had constantly listened to his dhamma sharings. Thus listening to dhamma is one of the pre-requisites for the arising of yoniso manasikara leading to enlightenment and wisdom. Having true dhamma friends is also a good condition for you to come and listen to the true dhamma.
Sister Tammy asks if her practice is correct. With mindfulness, when she is feeling stress, uneasy and her mind restless, she can see. She also can see the thoughts. She would believe her thoughts previously when her right view is not there. Now she starts to reason and analysis her thoughts. Brother advice that thought is just a thought and it comes and goes, hence impermanent, so don’t verbalize or reason with the thought. Brother Teoh further shares that the thought is dependent originating or just response to memory, for there is nobody there. That is the thought thinks itself. The mental intention is due to wrong views and it is not you that is deluded. The wrong view is due to the deluded mundane mind. He stresses that the mundane mind, the 5 aggregate of form and mind is not you.
After constant reflection and contemplation to stabilize your 2nd turning understanding, you are ready to receive truth then when you meditate, you can awaken via the 3rd turning wisdom (Bhavanamaya panna). Byron Katie says, ‘whenever you are stressed, you have wrong thought’. Brother says, ‘whenever you are not peaceful and unhappy the evil roots and wrong thoughts are there’. The key to meditation is to always relax into every mind states that arise and just let things be to realize your true mind. Maintain awareness so that you don’t fall asleep, aware of thoughts or whatever that arise (bare or choice-less awareness), don’t verbalize or chatter inside. Silent your mind and maintain awareness for as long as you can. Technically is to develop 24 hours awareness. With Faith and spiritual zeal, there is sati; when sati stabilized, it will become Samadhi leading to wisdom.Then silent the mind and see the essential dhamma – the sixth sense door, 12 link or dependent origination, 5 mental hindrances, 5 spiritual faculties, etc. Don’t suppress the mental hindrances, just let it be. The true mind will return to its original state of stillness when you just let all things be or settle down. As you maintain awareness (24 hours), the silent mind will understand, how you function as a human being, and upon contact of mind with the senses, how consciousness arise.
When sati stabilized, you will experience spiritual joy and rapture (piti). As you continue to relax and maintain mindfulness, you will experience long breathing with a lot of clarity and calmness. Then later when the mind is more refined, you will experience intense bliss (sukha). When you continue to relax and stabilized the mind, you will experience tranquility and stillness of mind (passadhi). This is your true mind, your meditative mind. When you realize this, then real meditation begins. Continue to silent. Passadhi will cause the silent mind to enter Sati. Then anywhere you place your mind to, it is aware and sensitive. E.g., when your mind goes to the heart, you can feel the heartbeat clearly as it is sensitive. You use this stability of mindfulness to meditate. When you come out of your formal meditation, you realize everything is in synchronicity, like your awareness is one with everything. Your awareness and mindfulness can be on every single part of your physical movements. When your mind is in sati, everything you see, the phenomena world and your movements, all move as one via specific phenomenon awareness. Your mindfulness has become one with the movements of a moving car, an outsider (example someone cooking), and you able to be aware of everything they do as if you are inside their body! Like Anita Moorjani, she has become one with the consciousness of her father etc. The awareness is boundless. Every moment of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting is different, the mind has entered sati and it just flows and mindfulness is there one with the phenomenon. This is real sati. This is daily mindfulness. Brother Teoh advice us to reflect only after out from formal meditation. Do not do it while in the formal meditation. Daily religious routine is vital, mindfulness throughout the day in the midst of life and nature’s activities. You will then understand who you are and see all your subtle mental intentions clearly. You can then root out the defilements with wisdom at every moment of sense experience.
Brother Teoh shared that his early days cultivation correlates strongly with the Avijja sutta. 18th October outline short note was further discussed. Points 29 and 30 on Avijja sutta were being read out. The ignorant sequence and the enlightenment sequence.
The 7 enlightenment factors are: – sati, Dhamma investigation, Viriya (spiritual zeal/tenacity), Piti, Passadhi, Samadhi and Upekkha (equanimity borne of wisdom). Hearing and seeing are all very clear when in sati. You will understand what is form and mind, able to discern clearly between form and mind. Mundane mind and the true mind. True mind that is aware, no emotions nor thinking. It is separated from the mental and physical form. When you go through pain, if you are able to just relax into it, maintain silence and be aware, the shift in consciousness will flash through the mind. When this happens, the painful sensation is like completely gone and the mind experience this brightness with a lot of clarity. Like in Anita case where the floodlight lights up the whole room and awareness is separated from the form. The awareness and the pulling sensation at the area (where the pain was earlier on felt) are like 2 separate entities now.
According to Avijja sutta the Daily mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati sampajanna) practice is a must for realizing the enlightenment. Ever mindful and constantly meditative as per Dhammapada verse 23. Constantly meditative and ever mindful or aware to develop the understanding, cultivate the noble 8-fold path, straightening our views, developing right speech, right action, right thoughts (3 ways of right/good conduct). This will leads to insight and enlightenment, so it is not mere sitting. In daily life, the 4 right efforts and the daily mindfulness (Samma sati) also need to be cultivated then you will know how to live your life (right living). When mindfulness/passadhi stabilized, it becomes Samadhi (mind unwavering and collected). With this, sense restraint is always there because when you see something with Samadhi, your mind is unwavering and collected. Thus you can see things as they to awaken because your mind will not stir.
With wisdom, the upekkha (equanimity) enlightenment factor will come to be. But before this wisdom arise, Samadhi can also enable you to see things as they are, hence you can understand a lot of the deep dhamma as taught in the Mahayana Sutta (especially Heart Sutta, Diamond Sutta and the 6th Patriarch’s platform sutra whereby the phrase “no mark of a self cultivating, no mark of others and no mark of dhamma or life” becomes very clear to you).
When the enlightenment factor of passadhi is there (i.e. established) your meditation will become different because this is your true mind. Then you will progress very fast.
Outside things may move, but inside is silent. Just like when Brother Teoh shares the dhamma, his inside nature is always silent and without any movement because he shares from his nature and not from his memory. If he were to share from memory, he needs to remember what he needs to say next. But from the nature, with the wisdom and understanding connected, the nature will know how to reply and act without having to remember anything. Whatever one tries to remember only becomes or ends up as knowledge.
When one awakens, the wisdom is there. No need to remember anything. Sometimes cultivator may have developed the wisdom yet the cultivator doesn’t know. But when he encounters any situation he will know how to act and handle it. It is always spontaneousand not acting according to memory. Nobody can give or teach you wisdom, for wisdom is not knowledge, it is an understanding that one need to be awaken to and once it arise it will be connected to the form and mind’s nature.
When Samadhi is there, you see things as they are, you understand and you develop wisdom. When wisdom arise, the last factor of enlightenment (Upekha) comes about. Your mind is in a state of equanimity borne of wisdom. Whatever situation you are in, you are always in this state of upekkha. It can have laughter, humor, and joy. But with equanimity borne of wisdom there is no more delusion to create duality. It understands that duality belongs to the mundane mind. Even though mundane mind exist, it exist only in the existential world for you to communicate and use it in daily life.
True mind will understand and not get entangled or confused. The 7th Upekkha enlightenment factor is not the upekkha of the fourth jhana. Fourth jhana upekkha without wisdom is just a conditioned state of mind in one-pointedness concentration. Those who do just jhana (without developing wisdom), when they reach old age will get into trouble because they can’t maintain the jhana. When the body is weak and lack of energy, they start to doubt and their mind will encounter problem. They do not understand what is happening. Through their thoughts, they think – “previously I can have joy, piti, strong metta and equanimity (upekkha) during my early jhana cultivation years”. Their mind is in upekkha but borne of one-pointedness energy field. They can be in this state for 24 hours. Brother Teoh’s teacher Ajahn Yantra was in this state earlier on but he later came out of the jhana state to cultivate the daily mindfulness instead. He told Brother Teoh the highest meditation is the one with awareness of all movements and actions in the present moment. It has nothing to do with concentration, samatha or one pointedness concentration.
After Brother Teoh came to know about this from his teacher he checked his cultivation and realized that he was hardly aware throughout the day. Then he determined to be mindful and within two weeks, the mindfulness came and he experienced the clear awareness and stillness of mind very fast after that.
When the 7 factors of enlightenment arise, you know you are on the right path. The nutriment for the 7 factors of enlightenment is cultivating 4 foundations of mindfulness. The Buddha says this is the only way for the purification of being, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation leading to nibanna (the enlightenment) in the here and the now namely, the 4 foundations of mindfulness.
The nutriment for 4 foundations of mindfulness is the 3 ways of good conduct. Without the 3 ways of good conduct, you cannot cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness because without the initial wisdom of yoniso manasikara, you cannot practice the 4 foundations of mindfulness. It is stated in the 4 foundation of mindfulness sutta that ‘after overcoming covetousness (lust, greed, craving, desire, attachment etc.) and grief only can you practice it.
The nutriment for the 3 ways of good conduct is sense restraint of the six sense faculties. This means you do not get emotional/angry/fearful very fast. Merely keeping precepts is not enough. For the nutriment for sense restraint is daily mindfulness and clear comprehension (Sati sampajana) and the nutriment for sati sampajana is wise attention (yoniso manasikara) at the moment of sense experience.
Clear comprehension of non-delusion is very important. Clear comprehension of domains of meditation followed by clear comprehension of the most important place, time and people. All these need wisdom at the moment of sense experience. The nutriment for wise attention is faith in the triple gem. To develop faith in the triple gem, you must listen to the true dhamma or teachings of the Buddha. And to do so, you need good dhamma friends. Hence our grouping’s name “My Kalyanamitta” by Brother Teoh is very apt and important.
Brother Teoh reminded all kalyanamittas to read through our mykalyanamitta or broteoh.com website set up by him because it is very important for all kalyanamittas to understand the the vision and great purpose and intend of us having this website. We not only share understanding among us, there is also no authority nor any division, but integrating all Buddhist practitioners and cultivators into a big dhamma family.
To refer to the whiteboard write-up written by Brother Teoh for more understanding of the Avijja sutta.
When wrong thoughts have arisen, you need to cultivate the 1st right effort to abandon them via the 5 ways as taught by the Buddha. Then cultivate the 2nd right effort to prevent them from arising. With mindfulness and wisdom at the moment of sense experience, you are able to prevent them from arising. The third right effort is to cultivate the right thoughts, right speech, right actions and right livelihood that are not in you. The fourth right effort is to refine upon and perfect all those right conducts developed.These 4 right efforts are a path factor of the Noble 8-fold path cultivation.
Avijja sutta is what we need (as a checklist) for us to have a clear understanding of the cultivation involved; so that when we cultivate, we know what and where we are lacking behind. Base on the Avijja sutta’s checklist, as Kalyanamittas we already have dhamma friends and we have also started to consistently listen to the true dhamma to develop the faith in the Triple Gem. We can then straighten our views to develop the initial wisdom (yoniso manasikara) via the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom of suttamaya panna and cintamaya panna. 1st turning wisdom is developed via constantly listening to the dhamma then the 2nd turning wisdom is developed via constant reflection and contemplation of the dhamma. What is left after that is for us to cultivate the sati sampajanna (mindfulness and clear comprehension) or the daily mindfulness to develop senses restraint to enable us to cultivate the 3 ways of good conduct onwards.
With faith, it will drive us (via viriya) to go all out to cultivate the spiritual faculty of sati.That is viriya leads to sati or mindfulness and with mindfulness you are heedful, then you won’t break the 5 precepts, and the cultivation of the 3 ways of good conduct is like automatic. With all these cultivated you can next cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness with ease. Then when you are on the right path, the 7 factors of enlightenment keep arising leading to the enlightenment. With the 7 factors of enlightenment, you are destined for enlightenment.
One of the stages stated in the 7 stages of purification is the stage on purification of path and non-path. When the factors of enlightenment keep on arising then you are on the right path otherwise you are on the wrong path. Upon enlightenment, there is this free mind (in sati and stillness) with joy, liberation, clarity, silence and understanding, not born of a conditioned mind.
If your silent mind has not entered sati, you have not started the true meditation. It all starts from a stable sati, cumulating into daily mindfulness cultivation which is a must for the realization of enlightenment in the here and the now.
(Above draft outline short notes is by Sister Angie, Phey Yuen)
|Teoh Thu 181018||Brother Teoh discussed about Anita Moorjani’s OBE (out of body experience) and others NDE (near death experience). When you are in the awareness state, the full consciousness that come out of the body is still connected to the nature, that’s how it can have the awareness. Anita can simultaneously be aware of whoever she thought of – she could feel her daughter, father etc. It’s as if they share the same consciousness which is the oneness nature. Anita was in a realm of clarity, where she understood many thing, feels much freer, and as if connected to everything.
When the consciousness is not trapped in the body it is very different because it is free. But to have the ability to be fully awareness at the moment of death the decease must have his/her past cultivation. If not, the karmic consciousness will takes over long before that person dies.
The collective consciousness of kalyanamittas is very strong currently. Hence the conditions for Brother Teoh to share all these special understanding/teaching. Thus it is important to ask Brother Teoh whatever questions you want to ask when his form and mind is still around. The questions can bring about conditions for him to share from his nature.
This outline Short notes preparation idea was put forth by Brother Chin How about a year ago. We definitely should thank him for enabling us to receive these outline short notes.Thus far no book writes about such things shared, and the outline short notes prepared were also very precise and they can enable us to develop the understanding to progress much faster along the path of dharma.
NDE verses OBE – these 2 happenings can be very different. OBE is where one dies and the whole consciousness comes out. Whereas NDE (near death experience) is different because they haven’t really died and in most cases it is only the astral mind that comes out.
Awareness, described by Anita Moorjani in her video is indeed a unique experience. For her to be able to do that she must have cultivated her awareness before in the past. She was also assisted by her dad who was also a cultivator with his unique nature. Upon death if you are fully aware a stream of very fast moving flash of consciousness will occur for you to understand how your recent life is the way it is and the understanding is very clear. But most non-cultivator (without the clear stable awareness) is not able to do that because before they die the karmic consciousness has already taken over and when the flash takes place they are hardly aware. Then when they take new birth it may be sometimes before they can have the condition to become conscious and aware again. For Anita’s case she was lucky because it was not her time to die yet so as per her father’s advice she quickly return to her body and heal herself with the full understanding of the dharma behind when she was in that state of awareness leading to all her understanding.
The analogy of a dim flashlight in the pitch dark warehouse as described by Anita is the awareness. When the whole warehouse is lighted up suddenly with the flood lights, she could see clearly what was in the room and all the other details – this is what awareness is all about. But most human beings existed through life, have not live, because they are hardly aware most of the time. Even if aware there awareness is so weak and unstable. Some human beings don’t even have the dim light (no awareness at all). Reason why they are heedless most of the time.
When one cultivates until the mundane mind collapses, the true nature will shines forth – like the whole warehouse suddenly lighted up with floodlight as a metaphor. Awareness from the nature just shines forth with full clarity because there is nothing to cloud it. This silent awareness nature can then see everything, – all movements, phenomena, etc. We need a very stable daily mindfulness to be ever mindful and constantly meditative, to realize the supreme born free Nibbana (Dhp verse 23).
For those born in the Peta or hungry ghost realms they don’t have a solid physical body. The remnant of consciousness that come out after death also does not have a physical body. That’s why they can only get angry and emotional, they can also hear what the humans say but they don’t have the physical body to do things to others. When the consciousness is out, it is much clearer for them to hear. If you have negative karmic condition or fear, it is easy for these beings to terrify and disturb you.
During the Buddha’s time, the king forgot to transfer merits. He could not sleep and experienced disturbance at night from relatives who have passed away long ago. The relatives wanted merits from the king, hence unhappy with him. The Sanghika dana offering for the Buddha with his sangha was performed again, and this time after transferring merits by the king, the next day all was well.
Tirokutta sutta is a sutta on “departed one in spiritual form” and a recital to transfer meritsto departed ones. Buddha said, for those who are reborn as unfortunate spirit because of their selfish craving and attachment for their property and wealth in the past life, return to their home and create an eerie atmosphere. While lingering beyond the doors, they radiate negative unhappy thought energy and thus create an eerie feeling around. They yearn for human food, but because of their past karma, their living relatives neglect them, fail to make offering to them. This is the cause of their unhappiness. Buddha’s advice is that those who are compassionate, therefore should remember their departed relatives and make offering such as alms giving in their name – make donation on their behalf, transfer and share merits. By the wholehearted transfer of merits, the spirit will gratefully wish for their well-being and the well-being of their relatives who perform such meritorious deeds.
We should always think of our relatives who have passed away, recall their good actions, rejoice, express gratitude and thank them, so that they will be happy. That is why in the Chinese culture, they will offer all the favourite food of the deceased to their departed relatives. They believe if they don’t make this offering, the relatives can’t receive the food in other realm. Even though the relatives can’t receive these food, but they will have the joy. Brother Teoh shared that this is still delusion because this kind of action cannot transform these departed spirits. But there is joy in them so it is like useful in a deluded sense.
We should remember the spirit of the departed relatives who are not at peace and gather in many places. In return, such spirit thus remembered and satisfied will wish for the well-being of the living relatives out of gratitude. In the hungry ghost realm, without physical body, there is no agriculture, no business, no exchange of gold etc. The spirits live on merits being transferred to them.
Anita’s OBE video was being played for sharing to kalyanamittas. Anita shared the 5 greatest lessons she learnt when she went through her OBE. These lessons are in actual fact profound dharma as taught by the Buddha.
The 5 greatest lessons learnt by Anita are:
Discussion on Anita Moorjani’s story:
Master Hsuan Hua said, at the moment of death, your consciousness will return to your nature and flashes through very fast. It is like the 3 areas of consciousness return to oneand goes through a phase of cessation. When karmic consciousness takes over, you are no longer aware or conscious of what is going on. Later on the death consciousness occur, then this consciousness will flash through. When it flashes through immediately after one dies, one will understand everything that happens (just like what Anita went through), – what one has done wrong and the resulting karma etc. By the time it flashes through and you know about it, rebirth consciousness is already gone. You can’t do anything and you can’t even come back in another mature body like Anita. Depending on the realm rebirth takes place; if human realm, you have to wait for 9 to 10 months before you are born into the existential world. Then only the rebirth consciousness that is trapped in the baby’s body starts to develop via its various conditionings.
Anita’s case is different. She was not a cultivator when she was on earth. That’s why there is no mundane mind collapsing. But because she was able come back to her body immediately, that was the reason why she can still recall her 5 biggest lessons learnt i.e. i) not loving herself that cause her cancer (using her wrong thoughts to harm and hurt herself). Reason why she advice others to learn to love yourself. Brother Teoh further explain the meaning of loving yourself – means no delusion, use thought wisely to improve your karmic and spiritual natures. Otherwise the wrong thoughts will condition your resentment, fear, phobia, worry, anxiety, anger, hatred, misery, etc. leading to severe stress and chronic diseases. Anita kept blaming herself via having negative thoughts and emotions which caused her immune system to fail leading to lymphoma cancer to her body. She went through hell, suffered much. She did not understand all these when she was in the human realm. But when she went through the OBE, and having the consciousness flashes through upon death, she understood. That Awareness state gave her the clarity and understanding to understand at these, like what causes her canceretc. While in that state of Awareness she can also sense her father (who is a cultivator) guiding her, she was like sharing a common consciousness with her father and everything else (which is the Oneness nature, or her True self-nature.) After all these transformation it changes her view of the world. Her father than told her, now that she understands the lesson and experience, go back into her body and live life fearlessly.
Her second lesson learned is to not have fear. Fear is a form of delusion with strong negative energy field. Fear of dying, fear of disease, fear of failure, fear of not being loved and not getting what you want, fear of losing your loved ones, fear of losing your job, fear of not able to compete with others, fear of not having the basic needs to live life, fear of the unknown, etc. Due to conditioning from your culture, tradition, belief system, etc. you end up amassing more fear. Insecurity too is a type of fear. All your problems start from fear. When you perceive something with negativity, when you fear something will go wrong, there is fear causing you problems. This is the cause of stress and misery, leading to weakening of your immune system. This will give rise to conditions for negative karmic to fruit. Why do people have disease? It’s all due to this. Sometimes it is also caused by past life karma conditioning weak DNA.
When Anita went back to her body with the understanding she can heal herself because she knows what causes the cancer. When she went back into her body, she felt so weak and cannot do anything. But because of her understanding, within 5 days, her tumours shrank by 70%, and within 5 weeks she was discharged from the hospital. The power of healing is from her nature via trust, silent and good mind state of Love. Brother Teoh further shared, when you start to love yourself, radiate metta to yourself, love every aspect of your body and mind, have love and be loved, and no more negativity of mind states you will recover much faster and beautifully.
Rebirth (Buddhism) and reincarnation (Tibetan) are different. Rebirth consciousness is just a simple consciousness taking rebirth. Whereas reincarnation involved the whole soul (a permanent unchanging entity) transmigrating to another body.
There was this case of a householder who had a chance to offer food to a Pacceka Buddha during the Buddha’s time. But he had remorse after that. Due to this, his karma hit back. He became a millionaire due to the good deed but he could not have proper usage of the money due to that remorse thought. He ended up eating bad food, using crappy vehicles, in bad clothes. He did not know how to use the wealth/money for the good of himself and the many. This shows that thoughts are very powerful. Thus don’t simply arise any bad or negative thoughts. Once you make an offering, don’t think negatively after that. Intentions behind is very important. Rejoice instead. Have joy and understanding.
When Anita understood who she is, the awareness and the true nature, she could understand that the form and mind is subject to karma. All of the 5 lessons learnt are related to the dharma.
If you don’t have mindfulness, you won’t have the ability to glimpse what Anita went through. That flash of consciousness happened very fast. When you are connected to your true nature, you are fully aware and you can understand what happened.
The enlightened being knows how to die. When they die, there is no delusion/avijja.There is no rebirth consciousness. For Bodhisattvas, they know how to come back with apure mind and they can decide when to come. They can also choose to come. Whereas for other beings, we have to come. When we choose to come, we can set the conditions via making aspirations.
Brother Teoh’s nature had developed the perfection of adhitthana very thoroughly. This segmented life of his nature chooses to come during the transition periods (of the 50s, 60s, 70s and those of the 80s onward) where he can see the old and the new civilisations. He also know how to avoid the Second World War. He was able to choose his parents who have affinity with his nature, that’s how Brother Teoh can be their child. The parents will know how to raise him up, care, sacrifice and provide for him, basing on a pure wish that he made earlier. He arise the pure wish in that previous life to take them across due to the wholesomeness that they did upon his nature without them knowing who he is. The easiest way to fulfil this wish is to make them his parents. Bro Teoh knew they are good people who will do their duty as parents. It unfolded as predicted.
Anita almost lost her life to develop such understanding of life. We can learn direct from her experience without having to go through what she went through.
Sister Tammy asked about “dying” before awakening. Brother Teoh shared his teacher, Ajahn Yantra’s advice, who said, ‘you must know how to die before you die. When you had meditated, develop the mindfulness and understanding you will awaken. Awakening means no more ignorance and when that happens – defilements die. So you die of your defilements before you die so that you will know how to die. Whereas when you say you ‘practice’ letting go it does not mean the defilements have been rooted out or die.When you understand that all those deluded wrong thoughts are tormenting you, you will not hold on to them or go back to your old way anymore so is there any need to let go?Only those who hold need to let go! If you hold, it means you haven’t understood! When Anita came back, she said her view about the world changed. The worldly people always focuses on fame, success, wealth, power, authority, status, etc. – which are all base on the egoic self (selfish intent). When humans being have self–delusion, negative tendencies and emotions that conditioned their suffering set in. With wisdom (no more delusion) the evil roots won’t arise. Moreover anger, selfishness and fear are not you, but conditioned arising mind states that arise due to wrong view. Thus the practice of ‘letting go’ is a delusion. Only wisdom frees.
Our mykalyanamitta website (broteoh.com) has a lot of very important dharma sharing. The audio files together with the outline short notes link and whiteboard writings can be viewed simultaneously as one listened to the audio recording. Brother Teoh advice all kalyanamittas to learn how to use the website with understanding. Click on menu and go to “Home” (our home page) to view our latest news and sharing; then go to the section on “About us” to understand how our Mykalyanamitta grouping leading to the formation of our website come about. How it all started and its vision (objectives) etc. – especially its section 4.0 on Overview of Bro Teoh’s kalyanamittas: 4.1 Original intent and concept of kalyanamittaship; 4.2 avijja sutta; 4.3 kalyanamittas core values and attributes and 4.4Kalyanamitta fund. Then go to “Repository” to view our wealth of dharma materialswhere our Publications and Notes and audio files are located.
Then go to “Activities” and “Contact” to view the details and lastly go to “Gallery” to view our photo albums and videos. Listening to the audio files attentively, consistently withfaith is helpful.
Avijja Sutta – Ignorant sequence: The nutriment for ignorance is the 5 mental hindrances and the nutriment for the 5 mental hindrances are: the 3 ways of bad conducts borne of the 3 evil roots. The nutriment for this 3 evil roots or ways of bad conducts are due to unrestrained sense faculties. And the nutriment of this is: lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension. The nutriment for the lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension is unwise attention (ayoniso manasikara). The cause of unwise attention is lack of faith in triple gem. The nutriment for this is not listening to the true dharma. The nutriment for this is: not having good dharma friends. With good dharma friends, you can straighten your views after listening to the dharma to develop wisdom. So not associating with genuine dharma friends will cause one to end up in avijja andbecome heedless.
Avijja Sutta – True knowledge leading to enlightenment sequence: True knowledge (vijja) leading to enlightenment; and the nutriment for this is: the 7 factors of enlightenment (Satta Bojjangga). The nutriment for this is: The cultivation of the 4 foundation of mindfulness and the nutriment for this is: The 3 way of good conducts, body, speech and mind and the nutriment for this is: restraint of the sense faculties and the nutriment for is: mindfulness and clear comprehension (Sati Sampajanna) and the nutriment for this is: wise consideration or yoniso manasikara, wisdom at the moment of sense experience and the nutriment for this is: confident in the Buddha Dharma & Sangha and the nutriment for this is: listening to the dharma and cultivate and the nutriment for this is: to have good dharma friends. Without good dharma friends to set the example, motivate and counsel you, you will never cultivate. Thus the gathering of kalyanamittas is an occasion for all kalyanamittas of different classes to come together to have real fellowship, share understanding and learn from each other. It also enable us to rejoice and express our gratitude towards all the kalyanamittas who have helped out and contributed in one way or other to the successful development of all our rather wholesome annual activities (both social and spiritual). All the committee members, kalyanamittas who had helped out in the following dharma and spiritual activities like preparation of our classes’ outline short notes and transcripts, support the setting up and see to the maintenance and updating of our website, recordings of all the audio files, setting up and help run the kalyanamitta funds beautifully, organise our various spiritual trips, annual retreats, monthly house danas, visit to various places of interest, etc. With these the faith and wholesomeness of kalyanamittas are developed and there are also a lot of occasions/opportunities for joy, laughter, humour and wholesomeness. Learn to open up your heart and be joyful always.
Brother Teoh shared that sometimes with too much humour without heedfulness, you may become heedless and break the precepts. But with mindfulness, you can have fun and joy. The Buddha said abstain while under training but after training you will know what to do, thus you are free to move and live the wonderful life of a noble one. There is no fear, as understanding is there. One also understand that there is: “hey! No you and hey! No me”. With the dharma, you can live the wonderful life as stated in the Heart sutra.
(Above outline short notes draft were prepared by Angie (Phey Yuen, Puan Chee’s daughter)
|Teoh Thu 181011||Sister Keat Hoon asked three questions as below:
Brother Teoh continued with his sharing of the 27th September Thursday class outline short notes regarding heart and mind before addressing the questions above.
The concept of death – Death is separation of Consciousness from the physical Form. Three things sustaining life are: a functioning physical body, Consciousness (all the accumulated memories i.e., accumulation of views, opinion, experiences and conditioning) trapped in the physical form and the Karmic or Life force from our karmic nature.
When you are brain dead, you lose your life entity of who you are. When one has stroke, one loses brain function depending on which side of the brain is affected, leading to inability to function or remember. Thus the human being is not real in that sense and also because it is impermanent, dependent originating. To arise thought consciousness, the brain is needed because the brain is where the memory is leading to arising of thoughts via response to memory.
The rebirth consciousness is just one simple consciousness. That is why when a baby is conceived, and later its sense bases and organs are formed, then the heart starts to pump when the rebirth consciousness goes in. When rebirth consciousness goes in, this is just a simple rebirth consciousness only. Then over the years of conditioning and accumulation of experiences, views and opinion etc. the consciousness evolved into what it is nowadays.
What is death consciousness? When you are about to die usually you are no longerconscious and karmic conditioning has taken over unless you are a cultivator with very stable mindfulness and understanding. You are no longer yourself in this state. If the dying person had committed one of the five heinous crimes (garuka kamma) such as parricide etc. or developed the jhánas (ecstasies), he would experience such a kamma before his death. These are so powerful that they totally eclipse all other actions and appear very vividly before the mind’s eye. If he had done no such weighty action, he may take for his object of the dying thought-process a kamma done immediately before death(ásanna kamma); which may be called a “death proximate kamma.” In the absence of a “death proximate kamma” a habitual good or bad act (ációóa kamma) is presented, such as the healing of the sick in the case of a good physician, or the teaching of the Dhamma in the case of a pious teacher, or stealing in the case of a thief. Failing all these, some casual trivial good or bad act (katattá kamma) becomes the object of the dying thought–process. (Most of the time the Death proximity karma will take over especially the habitual thing one constantly do, good or bad, e.g. if you’re good at torturing people through wrong livelihood, you will behave like those creatures that you harmed or killed. If you do harm to others, when close proximity karma takes over, your consciousness will develop the same fear you do onto others. E.g. if you kill chickens, you will behave like them – the fear they have before they die would be on you too. Similarly if you have constantly done good things and wholesome actions like listening to the dharma, doing dana and kathina, rejoicing, etc. then your Death proximity karmic consciousness will be related to such wholesomeness signifying a good rebirth. This type of habitual karmic consciousness will take over. A good example is that of our late Aunty Tan (Dana Queen), wife of ex-BMS president, who had done a lot dana/Kathina and wholesomeness – when her consciousness change or when she are not herself anymore she kept telling the devotees at the hospital that she was having kathina and doing dana here and there. As her parami was very good, on that day a lot of devotees and monks were praying for her recovery, people also shared and transferred merits and performed Bodhi Puja for her at Brickfield Buddhist temple. Brother Teoh who was also there doing the Bodhi puja, felt something very strong and powerful at his heart area and he can sense she would recover. True enough, after the puja, she regained consciousness and survived for another 20 over years.
There must be conditions for things to arise. The dharma is such, it can only happen when all appropriate conditions fall into place, or else things won’t happen. Malaysians are so blessed with such good parami to have such a good PM at this time of need. Without Tun Mahathir, change leading to downfall of the 61 year old ruling party of our country can’t happen. Brother Teoh shared that Tun Mahathir has very strong mind (will-power) and he will survive long enough to do the work he wants to do. It is not easy to be PM at his age (94), but with his willpower, he is definitely no ordinary being but a great being with a mission – to lead the world and our country to bring about the higher consciousness and a New Malaysia.
When death proximity consciousness takes over, you are no longer in control. Then “trying to think of good thoughts before you die to have a better rebirth” won’t be possibleor that easy anymore. The only thing that can help avoid this condition of the Karmic death proximity consciousness from taking over is to meditate to develop a very stablemindfulness. When you are heedful and aware, you won’t have such thing coming to take over your consciousness because your awareness which is beyond thought will be there to protect and guide you.
When Brother Teoh was 9 years old, he actually died. His consciousness came out and could not go back to take control of his body, like it’s not his body. But because he was determined to get back into his body so he gave it a push (he did not know what makes him do that but somehow he just know what to do) and he went back into his body. His awareness was there although at that time, he still did not know what meditation was or anything regarding the dharma as yet. Yet he was able to be fully aware of his owncraving force dissipating thereby freeing his consciousness from his body. He also witness how his full consciousness came out of his body.
The first thing he wanted to check and confirm was what he saw when his consciousness was up there (above his body). His brother walked into the room, said something and went out. As he was entering the room, Brother Teoh called out to him but his brother could not hear him. It was the same as the brother walked out. Brother Teoh then realized his body was down there. Thus he wanted to go back to his body. Once he went back into the body, he was not able to take control of his body at first. But once he gave it a push and regained consciousness and took control of his body again, he straight away ran after his brother to ask if he did what he did while in the room. His brother answered yes and asked how come Brother Teoh could know as he was sleeping like a log.
Brother Teoh was in that state because he was too tired after playing the whole day and his energy was almost completely drained. He just collapsed on the bed. As he rested, his craving force starts to dissipate – the craving force that binds the consciousness to the body loses its grip on his body. Then awhile later, suddenly the three areas of consciousness came back to one and reside at the heart area before coming out.
Most people experience only the astral body going out, and in such cases they can come back anytime. There is an energy line (the silver cord) linking the consciousness to the body. This cord will bring you back. This is astral traveling. It is the astral mind that goes out.
If you have awareness, the close proximity karma won’t happen. You will know how to die. Brother Teoh knew that because if he can do it when he was young (before even knowing the dharma), after cultivating the dharma, it would be a lot easier for him to do it.
Six years ago, Brother Teoh experienced a heart attack. Three months before, a messagecame from his nature advising him to go for a medical checkup concerning his heart and arteries condition. He then said, if there are signs then he will self-admit himself to the hospital. The signs came 3 months later. He felt something not right and knew he had to see the doctor. After being checked, true enough he actually had a heart attack, an Angina. But because he was aware, he did not feel any pain but just an eerie feeling. The ECG shows an abnormal elevation. After that they jab him and he was admitted for 5 days. After this incident, his consciousness experiences some changes. But with the dhamma, Brother Teoh knew what was happening and how he can best overcome it. Although mentally he was strong, but physically he was pretty weak during and after the surgery because of the lack of food due to his fasting since the night before until the next day about 5pm. After an energy drink of milo, his consciousness was more stable. Or else he would have gone into the meditative state and sleep to rest. He was still fully awarethen. He was aware how his body was fully exhausted and went through a peculiar phase, and he knew that anytime the form and mind could separate because it lack physical energy at that time.
A full consciousness has 17 thought moments. In between there are 7 determining thought moments that decide the type of karma. For Death consciousness it is shorter, there are only 5 javanas instead of the usual 7. Immediately after the death consciousness (cuti citta), Avijja (ignorance) conditions rebirth consciousness. Rebirth consciousness is just a simple consciousness, born of ignorance. Immediately this consciousness inherits its karmic past from his karmic nature. This consciousness starts to develop inside the fetus. It receives the food and nutrient from mother through the umbilical cord and grows. When it is born, it will be subject to conditioning by those who care for them. The brain starts to develop. Then as they go to school, their education curriculum together with the social media, and their belief system and family culture, etc. conditioned and molded them accordingly. But Karma has a great influence on all these, consciousness then develops into a bundle of memory with its views and opinions, conditioning, belief system, accumulation of fear, insecurities, and scars of memory, phobias etc. – and this is whatyou are. This sophisticated consciousness is trapped in the physical form till death. Heartbeat/pulse of life is needed to arise consciousness. If no life force, you cannot function as a human being. The moment the heart pumps, it sends the consciousness into the blood which goes around to nourish the entire body. That’s how you can be aware of any location within you; where there is blood, you can have the ability to be aware there.
This pulse of life/the life force, apart from sending blood to your body, can also be used to arise consciousness, for us to be conscious of things. It is like a power bank or energy source. When you know how to meditate, this whole life force can be switched off at the heart base and channeled into our nature via the gateway to our nature. Once it goes in, it activates the internal movements via trust. During that time, Brother Teoh’s nature transformed and he progressed very fast. Most human beings do not know how to use this life force or pulse of life. Instead they use it to arise thoughts and emotions (like sorrow, lamentation, anger, envy, jealousy, fear etc.) leading to stress and high blood pressure. They don’t know how to calm themselves down and are not sensitive enough to feel all these emotions. They don’t know how to develop the ability to be aware, stay calm and peaceful to experience the tranquility and stillness and quietness of mind. When it pumps, instead they use it to arise thought and emotions. Hence a lot of this energy is being wasted in the heedless thinking and emotions. This life force energy is not properly and wisely utilized.
This life force energy should be used for meditation, to develop our nature. Most people just let it arise and then disappear because they use it mostly for thinking to condition their emotions like fear, phobia etc. This takes away a lot of your life force energy. When you think a lot, or feel stressed, unhappy and anxious, you are very tired and completely drained. However if you use it appropriately, you are most of the time in the meditativestate; you recuperate and recharge yourself very fast. You feel calm, peaceful and aware most of the time. You are always fresh and have clarity of mind. This is what the pure consciousness is all about. When it is not properly used because of delusion then its consciousness becomes complicated and deluded, – this remnant of consciousnessis the one that comes out upon death, i.e., separation of consciousness (the bundle of memories with its conditioning, etc.), from the physical form. This remnant of consciousness has to come out because the form cannot support it anymore.
When there is no more life force, your heart beat stops; Consciousness cannot stay inside because brain dead, and the blood cannot nourish the vital organs. Then when your heart fails to pump, all organs will fail. There is no use for the consciousness to stay inside as it cannot give life or allow the body to function as a human being again. When vital organs within the physical body is/are destroyed, consciousness has to leave too. The moment any of the remaining 2 vital conditions that supports life is no longer there, the trapped consciousness has to leave the body.
For non-cultivator, you cannot decide what happens before you die. In the Tibetan tradition they teaches you POWA, a technique on how to die, and a chance to get enlightened in that dying state. For Brother Teoh, this type of practice is of not much use because most importantly is to prepare yourself via meditation long before death actually take place. Cultivate strong mindfulness to develop the ability to understand clearly what death is? When you have mindfulness and awareness, you will know how to die. This death proximity karmic consciousness won’t come and disturb you. This is because the awareness nature is beyond the mundane mind. It will know this is not real. The remnant of consciousness will just come out. And when it does, it can see and hear everything except that it doesn’t have a physical body. Everything that others say, this remnant consciousness can know and hear. This remnant consciousness can even call out to you but you can’t hear it. Out of anger, they could even create eerie feeling in you and the surrounding. Brother Teoh shared that if the decease holds onto any of their religious belief, upon death, the visions they see will manifest according to their conditioning and fear. Although rebirth consciousness is already gone, but because the remnant of consciousness (which is still deluded), are still attached to this world, so they will stay around just like those non-humans or hungry ghosts, spirits, etc. (in the other realm of existence) for such time till it disperse (when there is no more conscious energy to support its existence).
When there is self-delusion, you will think you have lose your loved one and this is attachment. The remnant of consciousness is not you nor your loved one. When there is no longer any attachment, this remnant of consciousness will then disperse, and be gone completely. This remnant of consciousness is in another realm which can only communicate with the other remnant of consciousness in the same realm. But if you are mindful, you can feel them, when they are around.
Death is separation of consciousness from the form, no reality because the form and mind is dependent originating, condition arising hence impermanent and not you, it goes the way of nature. When you understand this, you mind can be freed.
From the Buddhist perspective, the best way to repay your loved ones (especially your parents) is to thank them, take care of them via loving them, express your gratitudetowards them, honor them and teach them the dhamma while they are still alive. But more often than not, most people prepare for their death just outwardly as a formality, to feel good so that they will have no remorse.
Those 3 questions are usually asked by non-Buddhist. As a Buddhist you will understand in actual fact, no one dies. It is just nature’s law manifesting because death is a realityand no one can escape death, so why worry? But there is such a thing as filial piety and to be able to express our love and gratitude towards our loved ones while they are still alive is important. After they pass away, you just do what you have to do, for the Buddha said, ‘no amount of sorrow and lamentation can bring back the dead’, so no need to cry. As for the ritual, no need to spend too much money on the coffin and ceremony thinking it can give you more merits. But if there is a necessity to do the wake properly to inform others on their passing, then just go through it following the Buddhist way which does not cost much. As for the ashes, they are just elements because their consciousness already left. You can either keep them in an urn or dispose it off into the lake or river or sea. Finally the understanding is ‘Hey no you and hey no me’. If the decease is a cultivator then you may collect its relics and keep them.
If you want to develop filial piety, you can put the ash inside the urn and place it either at home or at a location with proper Buddhist chanting. Make offering in their name is also a good practice. For Buddhist, just understand what death is. Understand there is this law of karma which recognizes relationship, so we need to do our duty towards our loved ones. Duty means our responsibility to care for them, provide for them and do what is proper, no selfishness, no evil root nor negativity. When it comes to death, there is no reality. Acceptance of what is, if you need to talk to them, do so. This remnant of consciousness is no longer the real entity. Even when it is trapped inside, it is also not them for it is dependent originating. Finally this remnant of consciousness will disperse. But you can always talk to your loved one, telling them that they have passed over to another realm. It is not them anymore, and if they want to roam about with it, they can. But ultimately it is not real and they can’t do much without the physical form. They can listen to dharma and rejoice though.
The best is to have awareness and mindfulness, then you will know how to die and you can die well as this consciousness can be used for wondrous things. Just without the physical body. Brother Teoh further said he can’t tell if it can go to another body or not unless one has that ability because it involves the karmic law which is very complex.
In Tirokudda Sutta, it explains further regarding loved ones after they die. We must think of them and express our gratitude towards them. Then their remnant of consciousness will be at peace because they will be happy knowing what you have done.But if you say negative things, they can be angry with you.
For near death experience (NDE), the astral mind or consciousness can still come back to the body because the silver cord is still connected and the full consciousness did not leaves the body.
When a loved one dies, you can still send metta to them and make them peaceful. Ask them to listen to dharma, and develop the joy. Brother Teoh shared that he may use his remnant of consciousness (connected to his nature) to explore the universe if there is condition for his nature to do so. Even though it is not him anymore, but it is the tool for his nature to use before it finally disperse. Brother Teoh also shared that, one of his mission in this life is, when his consciousness comes out, it will use it to explore the universe and find out things that scientists still cannot understand. It will go to the star, the sun and explore the universe. This consciousness with the nature’s awareness, can be used for such studies. But whether it can after that come back through another body, he can’t tell.
If there is any unfinished business, this remnant of consciousness of unenlightened being can still linger around for quite a long time without dispersing. That’s why you can sense eerie feeling if they are angry and around. You can radiate metta towards them, express gratitude instead of being fearful. This makes them feel good and at peace. Recall to mind all the good things they have done. These are all stated in the Tirokudda Sutta which will be shared in the next sharing.
While loved one is alive, be loving towards them. When they are gone, no need to do complicated or expensive rituals. Also we need to respect our other family members’ wish. You do your part, share merits, transfer merits etc. Some people use the Pak Kim received from well-wishers for donation to charitable organizations and do something wholesome with the money instead of spending more on the funeral rituals. To do something wholesome in the name of the deceased is a lot better. If you put the urn in a special place it is good too. If the consciousness is still around, let them listen to the music and chanting which are more conducive for them instead of roam about without understanding. Buddhist understanding simplifies everything. Simplest way is to cremate and put ashes in the urn or disperse it into the river. Some cultivators will keep the relics which can give rise to good vibration/energy.
(Above draft was prepared by Sister Phey Yuen )
|Teoh Thu 181004||Brother Kok Loon shared his meditation experience. He managed to enter the calm statewithin 5 minutes. However later, he almost fell asleep until awareness came back again.
Brother Teoh advice Kok Loon as follows: when sloth and torpor creeps in, just be aware and mindful. Do not give rise to any aversion towards this mental hindrance. Instead, silent your mind and just stay with it. You will realize a shift in consciousness and the sleepiness can just disappears. If you don’t react to it, there is no mental hindrance of sensual desire or ill will. Eventually, the spiritual faculty of sati (or the silent mind) will takes over. Then, you will see a flash of light flashes through and your mind will suddenly be bright and clear leading to viriya (spiritual zeal). You will become fully aware because when viriya is there, sleepiness is completely gone. Sloth and torpor can also happen if one is tired. If you are too tired, then it is better to take a good rest.
Lying down meditation is the easiest and most relaxing. It is easier to maintain awareness too because there is no pain in the legs. If you do not know how to relax into the pain (which can appear in any part of your body), the pain will become more intense. If pain appears, just relax into it; stay silent without any dislike towards it then the constricted chi will be able to flow through the constricted location. The silent mind and your understanding will allow the spiritual faculties of sati to take over. Sati will lead to piti and sukkha. With this calmness, you would not notice the pain.
When we are calm and relaxed, the chi will flow and the meditation will progress well. This is how we should develop the understanding of meditation. All these are explained in our Heart Sutra short notes book. The Q&A section on pages 125 to 127 explained very clearly what we should do.
Bro Kok Loon was listening to one of Bro Teoh’s audio recording on his way to work. When he heard the turnaround story of the lady, her son and daughter-in-law, he shed tears because he found the story very touching and empowering. Bro Teoh explained that it was just like what happened during most of our spiritual trips. If one has affinity with some of these Great Beings or the beautiful dharma had an impact on them, tears will just flow because their nature can sense them. Those who experienced it could not explain why it had happened because the thought cannot understand. They were tears of joy and not sorrow.
There is a difference between heart and mind. The heart is the awareness or nature.There are two types of mind – the true mind or silent mind and the thinking or mundane mind. Without wisdom, the mundane mind will cause one to be entangled in the phenomenal world. When the thinking mind doesn’t arise, the nature within has a lot of clarity and is very sensitive.
Bro Teoh related the story of the lady whom he met during his trip to Japan. She asked Bro Teoh to help solve her problems involving her son and daughter-in-law. It was main karmic in nature. So bro Teoh helped to resolve her problems by giving her the necessary advice which she followed dutifully and faithfully.
Another similar case involved another Kalyanamitta whose sister (an Account) for no apparent reason suddenly experienced severe phobias leading to isolation and depression. She visited psychiatrists, monks and mediums but nothing worked. Fortunately, Sis Mee Fong introduced them to Bro Teoh. It took six to nine months for her to become normal again. Initially, her fear and hallucination was so intense that she locked herself up and refused to go to work. All these were karmic in nature and because of severe karmic obstruction she cannot be approached at all. In such case only the related loved onescan on their behalf do something to help save them.
In all these cases, if we know how to apply the Buddha’s teaching, we can resolve the issues amicably. It is important that one asks for forgiveness. In certain cases where it is not possible to talk to the victim, the loved ones can act on his or her behalf. It has to be done sincerely and with strong faith. Very likely, in the past life or lives, one has done such a karmic act to others. Hence, repentance has to be made sincerely. Whatever that has happened, there are causes and conditions behind. Most of the time, it is mainly due to karma.
We should not blame or react negatively in such a situation. Instead, accept the reality and act accordingly. We should repent in front of the Great Beings for whatever wrong action we did in the past. Radiate metta to all and develop the strong determination or affirmation never to repeat any such negativity again.
It is also important that we follow the Buddha’s advice of avoiding all evils by cultivating the Noble 8fold Path. Keeping the five precepts, cultivating goodness, performing meritorious actions, rejoicing in wholesome actions as well as straightening our views, transferring and sharing merits as well as helping out in the Buddhist community are some of the wholesome activities that we can participate in. If these are done with understanding and sincerity, we can invoke the power of merits of these actions to help our loved ones turn around.
These three things – asking for forgiveness through sincere repentance (to remove any karmic obstructions), cultivating merits and invoking power of merits will be able to help our loved ones free themselves of their karmic afflictions.
By doing the above, we are arising the necessary causes and conditions to enable our lives or the lives of our loved ones to turn around. With the dharma and the right view, it will transform us character-wise and personality-wise so that we are no longer like before, heedless, emotional, fearful and reactive. When the mind states are negative, we are actually creating the conditions for negative karma to hit us.
During Bro Teoh’s dinner with a few Kalyanamittas, they were discussing about the recent disasters that hit Sulawesi in Indonesia. When karma hits, disasters can strike in series, one after another. When we don’t know how to stay calm and peaceful with the clarity of mind to act according to the situation, we are giving rise to conditions for karmic afflictions to arise. The collective consciousness of fear and negativity can be very traumatic. We need the understanding to reverse all these. Otherwise, it is not easy.
There are beings with loving kindness and compassion who will go and help such victims. They are willing to sacrifice their lives to help these people. Their higher consciousness will help improve the situation of those affected. Virtuous thoughts can help to reduce the severity of the situation.
Bro Teoh went over last Thursday class’s outline short notes about the heart and the mind. How does the heart have the pulse or heartbeat? It is the karmic force or life force which conditions the arising and sustenance of the form and mind in this existential world. When the karmic force expires, the remnant of consciousness that is trapped inside the form and mind will have to leave or separate from the form.
Question from a Kalyanamitta – When the fetus’s heart starts to beats, will the consciousness come in straight away? Bro Teoh explained, initially it is just the sperm and the ovum coming together via conception. Then the cells will start to sub-divide and later forming the senses and the organs. When the fetus heart is formed and starts to beat – it means the rebirth consciousness has come in. There are a few hundreds of thousands of deaths and births every day. The chances of being born on earth is very rare because of the countless beings from other realms and universes waiting to take births too. The Buddha said that to be born as a human being is very rare indeed. The earth is a unique place because it is only here that there is potential for the being to become a Samma Sambuddha. But, without the dharma and this understanding, one can get entangled and even go down to hell.
When a woman conceives and is ready with the conditions to receive the newborn consciousness, who decides which being should take rebirth? Bro Teoh replied that it is karma which decides.
When the heart beats, the baby is still not conscious. It takes nutrients from its mother through the placenta. When this process starts, the brain is still blank because there is still no conditioning. Eventually, the conditioning comes in through the parents, the caretakers, friends, school, multimedia and society.
So what is a human being? It is actually a bundle of memories with its accumulated experiences, views, opinions and conditionings which will mould the individual. The consciousness interacts with the brain creating thoughts and ideas.
Bro Teoh mentioned that the workings of karma are complex. However, it is obvious among Bro Teoh’s family members that their ancestors Fung Sui, etc. has no bearing or nothing to do with their life. The obvious possible answer is mainly karma. If one wants to understand karma better observe life clearly. Though he and his brothers and sisters (9 of them) come from the same parents, born in the same locality but all of them differ in bodily features, height, character, understanding and inclination. The only thing common among them is financially, they are all successful and happy. Every one of them have good life.
Sis Keat Hoon mentioned that if things and people are due to karma, then we cannot faultany person. Bro Teoh replied that this was also what Sister PG said in the previous Tuesday class. She said that if people with bad karma should receive their karmic afflictions, there is then no need to pity them. Bro Teoh mentioned that the Buddha’s teaching is not like that. Though the Law of Karma is powerful and it decides the causes and conditions, but it does not dominate our lives. We cannot change the karmic past but we can deal with the present moments onwards via wisdom to improve our life. It is in this every moment that we can turn karma around through our right thoughts, speech and action. It is not that karma makes one like that but it is because of karma that one is the way one is. Just like some of us have the conditions to listen to the dharma and change our lives while others don’t have such conditions. This is because in the past, we have helped people before. As we live life (over the eons), there are certain goodness we have done. They will ripen too depending on the conditions or our affinity with certain Kalyanamittas who will bring us to come into contact with the dharma or the teacher. Hence, at every moment, there is potential for change. Life is not predestined or fatalistic. When we decide to repent and change, karma changes. That is why the Buddha advised us to avoid all evil, do good and purify our mind. When we take care of karma, karma takes care of us (our life).
Encountering the dharma is very difficult so we should cherish it and be serious about it. Our entire existence (not only in this life) depends on it. We need to carry our vows and aspirations into future births so as to live the noble life via walking the path of dharma ourselves. Just as no one can eat for another person to be full, we ourselves have to walk the Noble Eightfold Path. Wisdom cannot be taught because it is to be realized by the wise each for themselves. If we follow the advice of the Buddha and cultivate accordingly, we will realize the enlightenment as taught by the Buddha.
When one realizes the true mind, we will understand that the mundane mind is not realbut is dependent-originating, causal phenomena. It is impermanent and anatta. No wonder in the Mahayana saying, it is always mentioned that in true emptiness, life is wonderful.With wisdom connected to the true mind, the mundane mind is no more a problem. It’s the user of thought that determines whether we are using the thought as a tool (like a `knife’) correctly or not? Or the tool is cutting and harming us and others instead.
Question by Kalyanamitta – Besides karmic energy, what about other conditions that trigger karma to operate. Bro Teoh answered that conditions come from karma. When one is born, the DNA is coded. Before you are connected to the true nature, almost everything is karmic. Bro Teoh has his past cultivations so his nature knows many things and there were things that he just could not do when he was young. Everyone comes with their karmic nature but we can only inherit the spiritual nature, after we have connected to our true mind. It is just like Sakyamuni Buddha. His Sambhogakaya (spiritual nature) and Nirmanakaya (functional body) transformed him into the 3rd body (Dharmakaya) that enabled him, the fully Enlightened One to teach the dharma after He had inherited his past cultivations while meditating underneath the Bodhi tree. As for Bro Teoh, it happened in the year 1989. Once he was able to connect to his true nature, he started inheriting his past cultivations. Once the karmic and spiritual natures are developed, karma becomes very clear. It is not like what people think or say through words or knowledge.
All religions use different words to indicate the true nature. While one uses the word God, kingdom of God, Salvation etc. another may use Nibbana, Tao and the Oneness nature. Whichever the label may be, no words can explain the unconditioned. It has to be realized by the wise each for themselves.
(Above draft was prepared by Puan Chee and her daughter, Sister Phey Yuen )
|Teoh Thu 180927||What is Heart and what is Mind? According to brother Teoh this is a very difficult topicand very few people can truly comprehend. In Mandarin, the same word 心 (xin) is being used for both (the Heart and the Mind). Mahayana tradition teaches two types of minds– the Mundane (or Thinking) mind and the True mind.
Sincerity is related to the conscience (no evil roots or cunningness). The Heart as an organ is special as it is related to the conscience. Reason why true cultivator always said, ‘follow your heart and not your deluded thoughts (mundane mind).’ The heart is where the seat of consciousness resides. The karmic force triggers off the life forceand cause the heart to beat giving rise to the pulse of life that pumps our blood to nourish our entire body. The brain is where the memories are and as thoughts (mundane mind) are response to memories hence the mundane or thinking mind is closely related to the brain. The consciousness since birth is trapped within this physical body that has the 5 physical sense bases and the brain. Upon contact of mind with the sense bases, sense door consciousness (like seeing consciousness, hearing consciousness and thought consciousness, etc.) can manifest. You need to understand all these to penetrate the Mind and the Heart and to understand who you are?
Life force or karmic force comes from our karmic nature. When destructive karma hits, heart beat stops. Form and mind separates because brain dead and we call this death. The life force energy can be used to pump the heart, to make us conscious, to sustain lifeand give rise to consciousness, thoughts and emotions. It can also be use to access the gateway to one’s nature to bring about the internal transformation (of consciousness) via trusting our nature to meditate without the interference of thought.
The 3 things that sustain human life are: – consciousness, the physical body and the life force. A functioning physical body is needed to sustain life. But when some vital bodily organs are damaged, then consciousness can’t stay on. Body and consciousness need to harmonize just like the analogy of the car and the driver. If car is not in proper conditionthe driver also can’t drive it. Just like candle light’s analogy – it can only lights up with these 3 important conditions sustaining it: Wax (equivalent to the physical body), wick and the candlelight.
One needs wisdom to be able to live life well. To understand oneself one needs to understand the consciousness, the physical body and the life force.
Mind is linked to the brain because brain is memory and thoughts are response to memory. Thought consciousness comes about when mind consciousness makescontacts with the brain. Before one develops the wisdom via meditation, this (the brain) is hell because one will acts according to memory (which are the accumulations of all ourgood and bad experiences, views and opinions, belief systems, and delusion, etc.), which is Not acting at all. Most of the time, the accumulated experiences are your negative psychological memories (i.e. you scars of memories, fears, worries, anxiety, phobias, sorrow and lamentation and insecurities, etc. Human beings want to be secure and safe in life (the wanting is a craving) which is all part of their delusion. Nowadays, the world seems to be less safe, human beings seek safety/security hence their insecurity is the root cause of their own fear, worry and anxiety. One should instead act according to wisdom following Noble 8-Fold Path.
According to the Buddha, the highest security or only safe refuge is taking refuge in theTriple Gem. The Buddha is perfect in virtue and wisdom, thus he has the dharma. The Dharma is his teaching. The Sangha are his enlightened disciples and thus have the dharma as well. With the Dharma, one knows how to cultivate following the advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil, do good and purify the mind. One must thus takes care of karma and develops wisdom. Hence the highest security is virtue and virtue is your highest protection. If you want to have the good and happy life, do not break the precepts for do Good begets good and do evil begets evil. Without fear, your mind states are peaceful,calm and secure. There are no worries or insecurities as you have faith in your own nature (both karmic and spiritual).
Virtue is the highest and best protection. If you take care of karma, karma will take care of your life. There is nothing to fear. Whatever that happens, there are causes and conditions behind, hence what happens is the reality of the moment – cannot be otherwise. When you act according to memory (which are your accumulation of wrong views, traditions, belief systems, conditionings and the 3 evil roots), you are in fact acting according to your fears, worries, anxieties, insecurity, selfishness, etc. Instead, youshould act according to wisdom and understanding. With right view, you can act following Noble 8-Fold Path which is the path that leads to the end of all suffering.
Law of karma – ‘We are borne of our karma, heir to our karma, conditioned and supported by our karma and we are what we are because of our karma’. So whatever that arise there are causes and conditions linked to karma behind. Therefore Act with wisdom via not blaming others or yourself and not getting angry or fearful as one knows it is all karma related. No point being miserable over what happened. Accept the reality of the moment, as most likely you have done these to others in the past, and now with conditions, you have to go through it. Thus you are at peace, have clarity of mind to understand what has happened then you can act to resolve things amicably the dharma way and move on.
To resolve something amicably we need to apply the Noble Eightfold path; right view leading to the arising of right thought, right speech, right action, etc. following advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil, do good and purify the mind. Develop wisdom through comprehending the law of dependant origination (12 links) to understand how you function as a human being, how this mind functions. And the other essential dharma or teaching of the Buddha (4 noble truth, its 3 turnings, other related essential dharma that spin off from there). You will know how to act because you will know what dukkha is?The cause of its suffering, knowing that suffering need not be because cessation of suffering which is realizing the enlightened state of Nibbana in the here and the now is possible; and the path to realize it is through cultivating the Noble 8-Fold path.
There are 2 types of mind, mundane mind and true mind:
Meditation is to get one to realize one’s true mind. Master Hui Neng’s teaching is to bring one directly to the true mind. When you silent your mind, your true mind in pure awareness will be able to see how the mundane mind functions and operates and insight into phenomena to realize the 3 universal characteristics of nature.
Due to ignorance (avijja), thinking (or sankhara activity) starts causing the mundane mind to arise. To cease avijja, one needs the dharma, the right view or wisdom to straighten one’s views. Without self-delusion (sakkayaditthi), one will understand that the form and mind is impermanent, dependent originating hence not you. Then the 3 evil roots of greed, hatred, and delusion cannot arise.
These evil roots arise due to one’s self-delusion – believing that this form and mind is youand real (or exist) causing the “I”, the Ego or Personality to arise. With the deluded Egowanting to own, possess and control things, grasping and clinging arise, giving rise to this evil root of Greed (selfishness and greediness). As you think you exist, you can also become emotional, angry, jealous (evil root of Hatred) and insecure and fearful (evil root of Delusion).
When you can see that they are all condition arising, dependant originating and causal phenomena that arise when the supporting conditions are there then you will awaken to or insight into the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, suffering and non-self (anatta) which are inherent in all things within the conditioned world. Then you will understand clearly why this body and mind is not you, but merely a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for you to come to this existential world of ours.
Thus, contemplate daily that this body of ours is of the nature to grow old, get sick, and die. No amount of sorrow and lamentation can bring back the dead. Nothing actually dies. Hey no you, hey no me. No mark of a self cultivating, no mark of others and no mark of even dharma, existence and life. This penetrative understanding from the Diamond Sutra and Heart Sutra will bring forth the wisdom needed to live life beautifully within this existential world. When you understand all these, you become very different.
Human beings tend to follow their thought (mundane mind) instead of their heart (conscience). Thought is neither good nor bad. It depends on the user of thought. Thus one must know how to use it. With dharma, thoughts become right thoughts which are rather beautiful. Without wisdom, these thoughts come from memories which are filled with fear, greed and delusion hence no conscience, sincerity nor virtue. On the other hand, with conscience, sincerity and virtue, one cannot harm others. But for human beings without wisdom, the cunning, deluded mundane mind takes over, not knowing there is a true mind. But when you understand all these, your mind is beautiful.
How can the heart, an organ have a conscience? The life force pumps the heart, that’s how your heart area receives the karmic or life force. The final link is: for one to come to this existential world, one needs a form and mind (vehicle and tool) to come. The Karmic force and mind that comes due to karma resides within the heart. The gateway to your true nature is also within your heart area. That’s the reason why when you are in your natural state of silence (without thought) your true nature or conscience around your heart area is sensitive and can truly feel with pure awareness. But very fast your mundane mind takes over and causes you to doubt. When one meditates with understanding, one will come into contact with one’s true mind. Then when you continue to relax into all mind states and silent everything, your nature will be able to detect the gateway and ‘melt’ or flow soothingly into it. The true mind is also your conscience, no evil, no ego, thus anatta. This true or silent mind (which is connected to the form and mind) can meditate and cause one to insight into or awaken to truth, reality and all nature’s law. This wisdom which is then connected to this form and mind can cause the form and mind to be enlightened. But this – your this life’s segmented form and mind of your nature is not you because it is anatta.
Every living being has this true mind i.e. the conscience (inborn) which won’t do any evil. However, most human beings don’t understand what that is and they tend to overwrite it via their thoughts (mundane mind). The heart is the conscience. The gateway is inside the heart. Hence the famous quote: “follow your heart”. For example, when one goes looking for property, your nature knows – if you feel comfortable and good with the place, before any thought comes to delude you then you can buy the property. Only when you feel good, you buy. With Dharma cultivated, everyday is an auspicious day. Without the dharma, an auspicious day could also turn into an inauspicious day. Your heart or conscience comes from your nature’s understanding and wisdom. For those unenlightened, they can hardly perceive their conscience. Even if it arises it can only guide them for awhile before their thought (mundane mind) comes in and takes over.
Brother Teoh was able to explain all these are becaus