Below are the audio links to our 2nd August 2018 Thursday class recording for sharing by all. Also enclosed are the outline short notes to help you all to develop the understanding better.
OUTLINE SHORT NOTES OF THURSDAY CLASS DATED 2ND AUGUST 2018
A. Instructions before meditation
- Just maintain awareness and eventually the silent mind will return to its original state of inner peace, calmness and mindfulness. Stabilize it to arise theunderstanding.
- There is no need to do anything. When we are silent within, we will be sensitiveand aware. The understanding will eventually arise for us to understand how we function as human beings. We will also be able to understand all the teachings that the Buddha taught and see them in our own form and mind.
- We will understand Paticca Samupadda via our meditation; how dependent onignorance, sankhara or mental activities arises and how due to delusion we get ourselves entangled when mental activities arise. Upon contact, the 7 universalswill arise simultaneously and feeling will not remain as pure feeling if we lackwisdom and because of that feeling will be conditioned into craving straight awayleading to grasping, becoming and birth hence triggering off the whole mass of suffering.
- There are two types of births in dependent origination – mental and physical. Physical birth only happens once in a life time. However, mental birth takes placeevery moment when there is ignorance, leading to craving, grasping andbecoming via our wrong views and mental conditioning.
- If we are sensitive and mindful enough, we will understand how the contents of consciousness is inputted (based on our views and mental conditioning) to cause the arising of wrong thoughts when we act according to memory instead of acting according to wisdom following Noble 8-fold path.
- The evil roots of Greed, Hatred and Delusion are so strong yet living beings cannot see them because they lack mindfulness which is the sensitivity of mind in awareness.
- With the 5 spiritual faculties in place the opposite 5 mental hindrances will beovercome then our cultivation will eventually lead to the realization of the true mind (which is always there). This happens when the mundane mind ceases then the true mind’s original state of inner peace, inner calmness and inner awareness will be revealed. We should always bear in mind the 4 key supports for awareness based meditation of relax, aware, 24hour and Trust to guide us in our cultivation.
B. Questions & Answers (Q&A) after Meditation
- Sister Tammy asked Bro Teoh why some people say we should practice the four Brahma Viharas when it is the mind doing it. She has experienced that it is not a practice but those qualities can just arise naturally via understanding.
Bro Teoh’s answer:
- People who do not understand will use verbalization and parroting when they do it.
- When we understand, we will do it differently. We should reflect and contemplateon the qualities of these 4 Brahma Viharas mind states of metta, karuna, muditaand upekkha.
- When we cultivate correctly, metta becomes universal love, then metta does not turn into anger or hatred when things don’t go our way. Regardless of the outcome, the love towards all is always there when there is understanding. The true cultivator will always have love and is incapable of negativity despite whatever circumstances he is in. These qualities are radiated out from the heart regardless of whether the one receiving it is a friend or an enemy. There is no prejudice orpreference as to who the recipient is.
- Many people hold a misperception about vegetarianism. It is not what we eat that makes us pure or compassionate. If one’s level of cultivation is not at that level ofrefinement yet, then becoming a vegetarian has not much meaning because theirbasic defilements (evil roots) are still very gross and strong.
- However, if one has the understanding after reaching a certain level of cultivationthat is a different matter. For such a person, it is good because by then he can’t even harm or kill small insects like ants, flies etc. So compassion has to come about via true understanding.
- Bro Teoh shared with fellow Kalyanamittas how he had such an experience when he was at his second last teacher’s house. He saw many ants when he opened up the storeroom of the house. He tried his very best not to cause any harm or fear to the tiny insects when he swept them out slowly. He could see and feel the ants scurrying around in fear in the process.
- Bro Teoh’s nature was so sensitive that he could feel the fear among the ants. Immediately, he asked for forgiveness. He experienced another incident subsequently which he knew was karmic in nature. He was bitten by ants at another place when he accidentally stepped on them (their nest) unknowingly. Again, he asked for forgiveness. Since then, he had no more of such encounters with ants.
- It is understanding that will allow us to act in such a way so as not to cause fear to others. There is no more mental intention (cetana) to harm or to kill.
- During the Buddha’s time, Devadatta tried to cause a schism in the order by asking the Buddha to implement the prohibition of taking meat within the monk’s community.
- The Buddha understood how important it was to have the proper synergy between the lay people and the monk’s community. The laity offered food to the practicing monks who are worthy of offering, thus helping to sustain their monastic life while receiving merits in return.
- If the Buddha had imposed strict vegetarianism, it would have caused a lot ofunnecessary difficulty to the lay people. Hence, he refused to do so.
- Bro Teoh emphasized the need to understand what we do in the name of meditation. We need to find out and investigate into the truth taught by the Buddha before following his advice to develop our cultivation.
- Bro Teoh shared one of his experience during the early days of his cultivation – when he suddenly (for no apparent reason) started to abstain from eating meat for a period of time after his cultivation had reached certain level of refinement. However, his body became weaker. He then realized that vegetarian meals were not suitable for his this life’s body. It was as if the DNA that came with this birth was not suitable for vegetarian food. Then during one of his meditation, he came to therealization that his nature (in the past) had taken a special vow ‘to take across all living beings that manifest as food for him to eat’. From that understanding, he reverted to take his food as normal again basing on what the body need.
- There was this lady (Bro Teoh’s dharma friend who lived in Australia) who became a vegetarian for a long time after recovering from a brain tumor operation in Australia. Then many years later she contracted cancer, and she decided to go for the chemo treatment. But she felt very weak both physically and mentally after the chemo treatment so she sought the advice of Bro Teoh. Brother Teoh explained to her that her immune system was weak because this chemo drugs kills all cells (good and bad) and it also will affect her mental emotions severely thereby making her weak, tired, miserable and sickly (often accompany by suicidal thoughts). So she need to be mentally strong to take care of her mind states and physical health. In that sense, if she need to eat non-vegetarian good and appropriate nutritious food she must. Eventually, she understand and was mentally prepared then she returned to consume nutritious and healthy food (with understanding) and managed to recover beautifully. This was more than 6 years ago.
- Again, Bro Teoh emphasized that it is not what we eat that makes us pure. It isheedfulness leading to wisdom and understanding that is more important to makeus virtuous and wise thereby enabling us to live the good life.
- Sister Tammy expressed her curiosity as to why people say we have to do this or that when everything becomes so natural if wisdom is present.
Bro Teoh’s answer:
- Bro Teoh shared about his experience when his mother asked him to hold on tightly to the chicken which would be slaughtered. He let go of it when he saw the knife which his mother was holding. He was not capable of supporting what her mother was about to do.
- We should always inquire, investigate and find out first before accepting any advice, so that we are not gullible to follow blindly what others preach to us.
- We cannot just imitate what the Buddha did – like how he walk (bare footed), sit, eat, etc. hoping to become a Buddha like Him one day because the Buddha is theembodiment of his wisdom and perfection of virtues. By following what he did physically will not make you a Buddha because all these are form dharma that hasnothing to do with his cultivation of wisdom and virtue.
- Bro Teoh advised Kalyanamittas to read through the recently printed book (75thlesson of the Sixth Patriarch Platform sutra) and gain insights from the transcript book. Bro Teoh read through pages 14, 15 and 16 of the book to highlight the ‘importance of understanding what one is doing in the name of meditation instead of just following instructions to meditate blindly’.
- It is important that we develop our daily mindfulness and stabilize it to live life so that most of the time, we are mindful and without thought to cultivate the Noble 8-fold path.
C. Other sharing by Brother Teoh:
- Bro Teoh shared with us a few emails from the United States Dhammasukha site. They touched on consciousness: mundane and supra mundane, the four elements, enlightenment and the law of dependent origination etc. This site is hosted by Bhante Vimalaramsi who teaches the 6Rs technique of meditation in the States.
(Above draft outline short notes were prepared by Puan Chee)
Bye! and with metta always,
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