Below are the audio links to our last night’s Thursday class dated 28th June 2018 recording for sharing by all. The sharing is very good and highly recommended by Bro Swee Aun so please do listen to it attentively. Also enclose below are the outline short notes:
Outline short notes for our Thursday talk dated 28th JUNE 2018
- Bro Teoh read through the 21st June 2018 Thursday class outline short notes and explained certain key points as he reads them. One of the key point is on: Anger, fear, phobias, greed and other emotions were never you because they were not present before the stirring of the mundane mind. These emotions were not inherent within your true They are actually conditioned arising mind states, dependent-originating following the 12 links or paticca samuppada as taught by the Buddha. With this understanding, one can just allow such mind states to settle down on their own to enable one to realize that natural state of inner peace, stillness and tranquility before the stirring.
- Bro Teoh pointed out that a common mistake among cultivators is to ask such questions (when they want to learn meditation): ‘what meditation do you teach? Is it vipassana?’ Bro Teoh reiterated that vipassana cannot be practice because it is an insight or ‘Vi’ means the 3 universal characteristics of nature and ‘passana’ means to insight into. Hence, ‘vipassana is an insight and not a practice. Such questions comes from the thought that doesn’t understand. For vipassana is an awakening, an insight wisdom that arises when the mind is silent and just aware to insight into phenomena. The awareness will be aware of what is going on within the mind. There is no thought, mind or knowledge involved in this realization. It is just an insight into truth when the mind becomes so quiet, sensitive and mindful. Most meditations are thought-based which use thoughts to come up with methods and techniques to meditate. Then who meditates? The thought meditates via following the series of instructions given not knowing that these methods and techniques are just skilful means to anchor and train the mind. Without this basic understanding, one will think that one is `practicing the so-called meditation’ or doing vipassana.
- According to the Buddha, meditation is very simple when you understand. It is just developing heedfulness. Just train the mind to be ever mindful and use this trained mind to cultivate the Noble 8-fold Path. As we progress with more right views, avijja (ignorance) is weakened, then the next link which is sankhara (mental activities) will be less so there is more awareness and less heedless habitual thinking. Without the habitual thinking, one is aware most of the time. With the further straightening of one’s views to weaken the avijja further, the stillness of mind will grow more and more until one day, when avijja is no more the awakening happens.
- Some people have their past cultivations to support them. People like Sariputra, Kondanna and the five ascetics were able to awaken through listening or reflecting on the Buddha’s words via Suttamaya panna and Cintamaya panna (the 1st and 2nd turning wisdom). But most normal cultivators will need to stabilize their 2nd turning wisdom to realize the silent mind to awaken to the three universal characteristics. Hence, whether awakening is via Suttamaya panna, Cintamaya panna or Bhavanamaya panna depends very much on the individual’s past cultivations.
- When one’s spiritual faculties are developed, the minute we sit, awareness is already present. One only needs to stabilize it. The determination to be ever mindful to cultivate the Noble 8-fold Path will keep cultivators on track leading to the awakening when the conditions are met.
- However, if the spiritual faculties are not present, then one cannot meditate unless one uses a skilful means or technique to overcome the five mental hindrances The five mental hindrances hinder one from entering the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness. Then the question arises why one has the mental hindrances. The reason is due to the habitual thinking mind creating thoughts through avijja. The mind-sweeping method is an effective tool because it can help decondition the heedless thinking mind. There are no thoughts involved. As thinking reduces, the mind becomes quieter but this state is still not stable. This is why a skilful mean or an object of meditation is needed to stabilize this mind. The Buddha recommended anapanasatti. Eventually, the mind becomes more and more quiet leading to passadhi and eventually stillness of mind. This is the meditative mind which can make one mindful while in the midst of life.
- Once the mind enters sati, there is no need to use any object of meditation anymore. Many people are so fearful when they experience no breath. This is actually a sign of good progress. Bro Teoh mentioned that his nature gained this understanding through his own past cultivation even though he had no prior knowledge of meditation at that time. He went into absorption the first time he did that. But later, another Thai monk cum teacher Phra Ajahn Yantra taught him the highest meditation via developing the daily mindfulness and this made him realize that his mind was still in a conditioned state of appana samadhi. Bro Teoh decided to release the concentrated mind state energy he was in and use the silent mind to meditate via the daily mindfulness while in the midst of life. His sati was so stable that even the most subtle movement of mind could be detected. He was fully aware throughout the day. At every moment of sense door consciousness and perception, he was in sati. The awareness and phenomena moved as one and there was no thinking at all. There was just pure awareness in every moment of sense perception.
- Human beings can only do one thing at a time. We are either silent without thought or busy caught up with the thought-process. We react very fast to our sense perceptions due to our habitual tendencies and self-delusion. Instead of using the mind to live life and think only when necessary, we have given thought so much meaning that it has dominated our life to think, stir and react every time we come into contact with sense experience. Through our daily constant stirring of the mind via likes and dislikes (as these are mental hindrances) they will prevent us from entering the meditative state of inner peace and inner awareness, thereby making us
- Mental suppression, concentration, noting, verbalization etc. will cause the thought to be even more active. Bro Teoh used the analogy of swimming with a float to explain how one should meditate. Applying Archimedes’ Principle to swimming, the weight of the water displaced by our body is equal to the up thrust (buoyancy force) created. If we just relax and do not struggle, this up thrust which is equivalent to the mass of water displaced by our body will push the body up because the natural state of the body is buoyancy i.e. the body is lighter than water. (Similarly the natural state of the mind is tranquility, stillness and aware). If we know how to relax, we can swim easily. Similarly, meditation becomes very easy if we just relax and silent (i.e. do not struggle or try to ‘meditate’ via verbalization). The moment we are without thought, we are already aware. So, there is no need to try and be aware.
- The float is useful to assist us to swim at first. Similarly, methods and techniques in meditation are skilful means like the float. Initially, one may need them but eventually, we have to give them up. As long as we don’t give up all these methods and techniques or any object of meditation, we will never understand how to meditate. Once the mind has enters sati, there is no need for a meditation object to anchor the mind anymore. It is already aware naturally.
- Master Hui Neng’s approach takes us directly to the true mind. Without thought, we are already aware and that is your true mind. Then one can see clearly with mindfulness how avijja (mainly self-delusion) cause one to react and stir one’s mind thereby creating the mental hindrances. These mental hindrances are the source of evil roots. Avijja arises due to our wrong views. So, Bro Teoh advised us to straighten our views first. When sankharas cease, we can then insight into phenomena. Most of you have been taught the traditional thought based meditation until you are so It makes you belief that meditation must involves the thought not knowing that it is this thinking or chattering mind that you use to meditate is the one creating more sankharas to delude you.
- In the field of meditation and spirituality, thinking is not needed. What is needed is Thinking is only necessary for us to use it to live life, to develop skill and knowledge and perform certain mechanical tasks in life. Thought is a tool for us to use hence the user of thought is very important. If the user of thoughts is wisdom then thoughts become right thoughts.
- Bro Teoh mentioned the sad case of a college student who shot himself in the toilet recently. Such cases happen due to avijja (lack of understanding) and this shows the power of thought which can delude and deceive us into acting out foolishly. It is not about being rich or poor. A lot of such cases are due to karmic consequences from the past.
- It is important for cultivators to understand that no amount of practice can free us. It is only understanding or wisdom that can free and liberate one’s mind.
(Above draft was prepared by Puan Chee.)
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