Subject: Re: Thursday class outline Short Notes (6th December 2018)
Bro Teoh Thursday Talk 6th December 2018 Short Notes
1. The main purpose of the Buddha’s teaching is to help living beings overcometheir 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 yoniso manasikara (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.
2. 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.
- Sincerity – means you don’t waiver to develop the understanding of the essential dhamma especially the 5 spiritual faculties and the 3 phases of dhamma (Pariyatti, Patipatti and Pativedha to awaken.
- Diligence – means to persevere diligently and sincerely.
3. Faith will drive you. With sincerity, you won’t deviate into fame, psychic powers etc. because of your right view/understanding that only wisdom frees and liberates our mind – nothing else. You will cultivate diligently, the 3 turnings of the 4 Noble Truth leading to the awakening/enlightenment.
4. 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 wisdomof suttamaya panna and cintamaya panna.
5. 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.
6. 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 andcontemplate constantly to develop understanding to straighten your view. When you realize that the dhamma always stands up to investigation, yourfaith 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 naturerolling by.
7. One will see the power of wrong thought to divide via words, concepts and mundane conventions leading to dualities and conflict. Division will lead tochaos 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 toresolve 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 noblein all aspects of life, always heedful and mindful. One also has the embodiments of all the noble 8-fold path factors.
8. 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.
9. 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 onerealize these profound truth of the conditioned and the unconditioned one will awaken and one will know how to live the noble life of an ariyabeautifully. With this understanding, you won’t attach and cling deludedly to the conditioned world and the phenomenal world of consciousness. In theDiamond 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.
10. It is one’s mind through ignorance which clings and develops sorrow leading to suffering.
11. You can have faith and confidence in the Buddha and his teaching throughunderstanding clearly who Buddha is? He is not only enlightened but He is thefully 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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 theavijja sutta steps leading to the enlightenment in the here and the now.
15. 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. The6th step is sense restraint developed via cultivating the 4 right efforts. The 7thstep 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.
16. 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.
17. Relax body and mind and let things be. Awareness is mindfulness, being silentbecause 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. Whenmental hindrances arise, they hinder mind from becoming aware. But if youjust let it be, and don’t give it meaning, it will die down and you willexperience 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.
18. 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.
19. 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 todevelop 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. Sokarma is very important. Thus you need to understand what constitutes good and wholesome karma. The 3 ways right conduct are vital. Buddha advices us tocontemplate 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.
20. 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 afflictedby 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.
21. 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 conditionsfor 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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 arepeaceful within, always aware with little orno 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.
25. 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.
26. 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 moneythrough proper investment understanding.
Bye! and with metta always,