Cultivating The Bodhisattva Way

Sunday Class WPCS

7 October 2018 – 14 July 2019

Reading Material :  Cultivating The Bodhisattva Way mp3     pdf     epub     mobi

18 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way The End 14 July 2019    (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 137-142 (completion)

Brother Teoh introduced the new book to be used for the next Sunday class staring August 2019. The book is: “The Path to the TruthFor the modern day Bodhisattva Practitioner” by Master Shih Cheng Yen of Tzu Chi.

True Dharma cultivation encompasses the whole of life. It is not just about sitting in meditation and chanting sutras.

Guan Yin, Pu Hsien, Wen Shu and Ti Chang Wang Pusa are advance Maha Bodhisattvas who had already perfected themselves but delayed their Buddhahood so that they can come back as Bodhisattvas to continue to save living beings. Everything is causal phenomena but we can only understand it when we have realized the Dharma.

It is our mental conditionings that prevent us from recognizing these special beings. We need to have the ability to feel and sense their nature. To see the signs through our cultivation or else our conditioned mind will deceived us through our view and opinions of things. Special beings have virtues which cannot be seen outwardly.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. This saying is very true. Through our understanding, vows, aspirations and affinity with their nature, conditions will arise for us to meet up with these special beings.

Virtues such as generosity, kindness, gratitude and filial piety will enable us to perform our duties well toward nature, living beings and our loved ones, resulting in great field of merits. We never know who we are helping. Sometime they may be special beings or someone who has the potential to be special being.

When faced with difficult people, we should be thankful as we will have a chance to practice the Dharma and to be tested. Do listen to the audio file on how Venerable Kondanna became the Buddha’s first disciple to attain enlightenment.

Brother Teoh shares stories of how he can feels and senses signs arising during his spiritual trip’s travels. Among the stories is how Kalyanamittas got to know Ajahn Achalo of Anandagiri while travelling on a spiritual trip to Thailand in 2012. Ajahn Achalo also has great affinity with Guan Yin and Pu Hsien Bodhisattva and all these have paved the way for Kalyanamittas to have the opportunity to partake in all the wholesomeness and meritorious projects carried out by Ajahn in Anandagiri.

Brother Teoh advice Kalyanamittas to take the Bodhisattva vows seriously as this is a very rare window of opportunity for them to come across such teaching and understanding in future. Do not miss out on this special opportunity now where we are blessed with the audio and video recordings, printed text and e-files of the teachings. Nurture the Bodhi mind with faith, sincerity and determination until it is deeply rooted in our nature so that in future when we come, we will have this understanding again.

The book on “Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way” is very comprehensive with teachings on how to cultivate the Bodhisattva way with ease via incorporating how to breaking karmic obstruction through repentance, developing the appropriate aspirations for clear understanding of the dhamma, special vows and how to cultivate affinity with Great Beings. We first need to understand the teaching then only can we progress in the cultivation.

If we have mental hindrances, we will not be able to meditate. We need to have the continuous daily mindfulness of sati sampajanna first before we can understand the teaching comprising the essential dhamma, the Dependent Origination, the 3 Universal characteristics of nature and the Four Noble Truths.

With a calm and creative mind in sati, we must constantly listen, reflect, inquire and contemplate the teachings to arise the initial wisdom borne of the 1st and 2nd turnings. This initial wisdom is important as it will stop us from re-acting to sense experiences. When this happens, our mind becomes calmer and more composed. When the teachings stand up to investigation, our faith grows and we will have more viriya to cultivate sincerely.

Brother Teoh went through the Avijja Sutta with us and he emphasized the importance of cultivating steps 4 (initial wisdom) and 5 (mindfulness and clear comprehension) to progress along the path of dhamma cultivation. Do listen to his audio and video recordings to develop the deep penetrative understanding.

We have to perfect both our karmic and spiritual natures.

To read the outline short notes on 2 July 2019 and 7 July 2019.

With Dharma, we will have the good understanding to live the good life when we come to this world again in the future.

Brother Teoh shares on Jack Ma whose perseverance makes him successful despite having initial low mentality (failed in school). However, once Jack Ma understood life, i.e. importance of virtues, he became very successful.

(Above draft was prepared by Sister Mun Yuen).

17 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 7 July 2019     (Short Notes pdf)    How to deal with thoughts in Meditation? Youtube

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 128-137

Brother Teoh lead the class through the special Puja and the taking of the Bodhisattva Vows.

Brother Teoh elaborated on the reason for having the following additional and miscellaneous vows:

  • To be successful in fulfilling all my above vows soonest possible – this is to bring about the additional causes and conditions for us to fulfill them.
  • To cultivate strong affinity with all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and to request their nature’s blessing, protection and guidance – These Great Beings’s vows are very extensive. So when we cultivate affinity with them, it brings about great causes and conditions for their natures to bless, protect and guide us as we walk this path.
  • To strengthen my 5 spiritual faculties until they become balas or powers, life after life so that all the above vows can be successfully fulfilled with ease – this is enable us to have the meditative mind at all time even while in the midst of life so that all our vows can be fulfilled with ease.
  • To cultivate extensively all virtues, blessings and merits to help support our cultivation so that they will shine forth to aid this nature of mine when needed in time of trials and tribulations while walking the Bodhisattva way – this is to enable us to have the special merits to help us overcome all our problems, difficulties and karmic obstructions while taking this path.

Brother Teoh take us through the 10 Perfections leading to Buddhahood and understanding them is very important.

Having the initial wisdom (yoniso manasikara) at the moment of sense experience is very useful as it can prevent the mind from stirring and reacting. Yoniso manasikara prompts us not to react to sense experience as before due to one’s ignorance of the Truth. With yoniso manasikara, there will be more moments of awareness and silence as you are at peace with almost all situations. With more movements of awareness and peacefulness, daily mindfulness strengthens.

Daily mindfulness can be stabilized only when the 5 spiritual faculties and the development of yoniso manasikara are established.

Then, incorporate the below 4 types of clear comprehension to prevent us from deviating during cultivation:

– Sincerity of purpose. (We meditate because we want to free our mind and not for psychic power or ability).

– Domains of meditation. (Meditation can be developed in all postures, under all circumstances and at all times in daily life).

– Suitability. (The most important time is now; most important people are those around you whom you can help and the most important place is here).

– Non-delusion. (Not to be trapped and deluded by the conditioned mind states and the 10 defilements of insight) that would lead to complacency).

With mindfulness and clear comprehension (sati sampajanna), one can develop self-restraint and one is incapable of evil. With sense restraint comes the 3 ways of right conduct. When one has reached this stage, chances are one would have attained at least the 1st stage of sainthood.

With the above established, one’s silent mind is ready to embark on the cultivation of the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness where the 3rd turning wisdom is developed.

After this, the 7 Factors of Enlightenment keep arising and we are destined for enlightenment.

Sister Tammy questions how to handle thoughts during meditation. She tried to be in the present moment when the thoughts arose.

Brother Teoh advised that we should not try to be in the present moment as that is dwelling on the thought that wants to be in the present moment. We just need to have the understanding that thoughts are there because our spiritual faculties (especially mindfulness) is not established yet. When we can accept what happens with this understanding, it means we are not reacting to the thoughts. When condition is as such (mindfulness is not stable yet), things will be like that (having thoughts).

When thoughts arise, just be aware. Do not resist or create any dislike for such state. Relax and let them be.

Meditation without understanding will be stressful.

Our body has healing powers if we do not resist our nature’s healing process through having negative thoughts.

Having good sleep can help us recuperate our body and this is nature’s way of healing us when we do not arise the wrong thoughts to resist its healing process.

When we lack Dharma, there will be heedlessness and disorder in our life for we lack mindfulness.

Apply the first right effort to abandon the wrong thoughts that had arisen. Then the 2nd right effort to prevent them from arising after having develop the 1stand 2nd turnings wisdom.

Fear is dependent originating borne of ignorant. Fear is a sankhara movement borne of wrong thoughts.

Fear could be a karmic thing. So, we may need to seek or ask for forgiveness and repent.

Sister Tammy continued her sharing – Then she realized that it was her fear/aversion of those thoughts that made her heedless after she become aware of someone else snoring. Her mind was preoccupied with the dislike for those thoughts until she was not able to be aware of the snoring earlier.

Brother Teoh explained that our mind can only do one thing at a time. This mind is either aware (with the true mind) or lost in thoughts (with the heedless thinking, mundane mind).

When we listen with the true mind, we do not compare with previous experience stored in our memory.

All the four stages of sainthood enlightenment, involving the Sotapanna, SakadagamiAnāgāmi and Arahant severing the 10 fetters were also explained.

(Above draft short notes was prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

16 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 23 June 2019     (Short Notes pdf)

When we share merits with Devas, we create affinity with Dharma Protectors. As cultivators, we are part of the Sasana so we will receive protection from Dharma Protectors too.

When we share and transfer merits to all beings, this by itself is a meritorious action.

When we plant the Bodhi seed to arise the Bodhi mind to walk the Bodhisattva way deep into our nature, these Bodhisattva vows will stay in our mind stream life after life until full enlightenment.

The Bodhi seed must be planted with great resolve, faith, sincerity and understanding otherwise there will be no condition for one to go this way.

Most people go through sufferings first before seeking for the Truth. However, this may not be the case if the cultivator through their past understanding, vows and aspirations can bring forth the causes and conditions for their form and mind to connect early whenever they arise.

Tzu Chi members are mostly Bodhisattvas cultivating love and compassion within the world first and they follow their own Tzu Chi path as taught by their master.

When we take the vows, we use the words ‘this nature of mine vows ….’ instead of ‘I’ vows …. To cover all future forms and minds.

We need to contemplate, reflect and inquire deep into the dharma to stabilize what is learnt and assimilate them into our nature. With understanding (wisdom), our mind will settle down very fast. We then become more heedful and aware in our daily mindfulness. Whenever we are silent, the spacious awareness without a center will arise.

Apart from having the daily mindfulness developed, we also need to develop clear comprehension of the following:

Sincerity of purpose. (We meditate because we want to free our mind and not for psychic power or ability).

Domains of meditation. (Meditation can be developed in all postures, under all circumstances and at all times in daily life).

Suitability. (The most important time is now; most important people are those around you whom you can help and the most important place is here).

Non-delusion. (Not to be trapped and deluded by conditioned mind states (the 10 defilements of insight) that would lead to complacency).

Sati sampajanna with clear comprehension is the most important step. If we are successful at this step, the rest of the steps in Avijja Sutta is more or less automatic.

Bro Song shared his progress in meditation where he was able to experience his silent mind (without any mental chattering at all) and be aware of his surroundings and his own heart beat while taking a leisure walk after lunch (his daily routine). His perception of what he saw was different. Please do listen to the recording for the full details.

Bro Teoh explained that when one’s mindfulness has stabilized, one will see truth easily. The mind will be in the creative state, which is just aware with very little thinking. Such a mind has clarity and is able to develop the understanding to resolve all issues amicably.

Bro Teoh advised Kalyanamitta to constantly listen attentively to the Dharma again and again to develop the right understanding of the dharma shared.

Life itself is our greatest teacher as only through life is there communication and relationships involving the human minds. Only in life can Dharma unfold.

Sis Mun Yuen shared her experience on a car accident in relation to karma. Please do listen to the recording for the full details.

(Above draft outline short notes was prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

15 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 9 June 2019     (Short Notes pdf)     Understanding the Bodhisattva Way Video

The importance of taking the Bodhisattva vows to walk this way was re elaborated by Bro Teoh as a reminder to all kalyanamittas. Bro Teoh re explained in detail the process of taking this Bodhisattva vows by guiding all kalyanamittas on how to take the Bodhisattva vows again.

Only with appropriate conditions, can a pure wish manifest into reality. Unless there are causes and conditions, the pure wish cannot manifests even if it was made for one’s own family member.

True cultivation has nothing to do with the selfish mundane mind. Only with faith, sincerity and perseverance, can our vows and aspirations be fulfilled. These vows and aspirations can help take us along to walk the Bodhisattva way successfully. With affinity established with Great Beings, their special nature can bless, protect and guide us along because their nature are ever radiating for the truecultivators of the way.

Brother Teoh shared stories about his earlier Kalyanamittas’ Taiwan spiritual trip.

Realizing the importance of generosity or dana parami, Bro Teoh set up the myKalyanamitta Fund to help kalyanamittas so that all Kalyanamittas can partake in all the wholesome activities performed by this fund. For more detail on the uniqueness of this kalyanamitta fund please do listen to the audio file at

Our nature never dies. What comes to pass is only the form and mind (body and the consciousness trapped inside) after they separate.

Brother Teoh asked, whether as kalyanamitta have we ever reflected on how bless we are, to be able to be part of our this kalyanamitta family or grouping? How over the past 14+ years our kalyanamitta grouping had evolved so beautifully, dhammawise. Not only our grouping with its kalyanamitta fund, weekly and yearly dhamma activities firmly established. We had also developed our website with all our audio and video files, transcript notes and books, etc. incorporated. This website is a repository of very good and useful dhamma material and resources. Brother Teoh shared that when he reflected on what we have established and achieved thus far, is really amazing and the joy in his heart is immense. For more detail on this, please do listen to the audio file at  from 1 hour: 35 minutes onwards (the sharing was very beautiful indeed).

   Brother Teoh reminded us (kalyanamittas) not to miss this ‘special window of opportunity’ (the Sakyamuni’s Sasana) to plant the seed of Bodhi firmly to go this way.

 The whole process are as follows:

  • First, we make the aspiration for the below right understanding to walk the Bodhisattva Way. The reason for making this aspiration is to have these understanding life after life – so that this understanding will not be lost. The right understanding we aspire to have are:1) Have right views with regards to the Law of Karma, the Law of Dependent Origination and the Four Noble Truths. We need to reflect, inquire and contemplate on these right views to develop the second turning wisdom.2) To understand the two aspects of the 5 aggregates of form and mind clearly. To also understand that they are all conditions arising, therefore not a permanent unchanging entity, not me, non-self and empty. The 5 aggregates of form and mind are empty and it is just a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for us to come into this existential world.3) To keep the 3 sets of pure precepts, i.e. (i) Avoid all evil and understand what constitutes evil clearly; (ii) To cultivate all virtues and blessings (via the 4 Right Efforts) leading to the perfection of them all so that when we come again, we will understand straight away when we hear this advice again; and (iii) To cultivate wisdom to help liberate and take across all sentient beings.
  • Second, we make the actual Bodhisattva vows:1) This nature of mine vows to liberate the countless living beings from samsara and take them all across to the other shore;2) This nature of mine vows to endure and sever all vexation/suffering;3) This nature of mine vows to cultivate and penetrate all dharma to realize the perfection of all wisdom;4) This nature of mine vows to perfect the 10 pāramitās (or perfections) to realize the unsurpassed Samma Sambuddha hood.
  • Third, we make additional vows to break karmic obstructions, i.e. through seeking forgiveness, repentance and vowing etc. (page 108).
  • Fourth, we make miscellaneous vows to help enhance our cultivation:1) To be successful in fulfilling all my above vows soonest possible;2) To cultivate strong affinity with all Buddha and Bodhisattvas and to request their nature’s constant blessing, protection and guidance always;3) To strengthen my 5 spiritual faculties of saddhā, vīriya, sati, samādhi and panna until they become balas or powers, life after life so that all the above vows can be successfully fulfilled with ease. Reason is for our spiritual faculties to be unshakable so that we do not need to train again in future lives.4) To cultivate extensively all virtues, blessings and merits to help support my cultivation so that they will shine forth to aid this nature of ‘mine’ when needed in times of trials, difficulties and tribulations while walking the Bodhisattva way.

 As a revision, Bro Teoh goes through the Ten Perfections with us again. For details please read through pages 111-113.

(Above draft outline short notes are prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

14th Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 26 May 2019     (Short Notes pdf)

Book Reference: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way (14th Lesson), Page 96-102

Without wisdom, you will not have true renunciation and compassion.
When there is wisdom, renunciation and compassion manifests automatically.

  • Without love, compassion and wisdom, the egoic mind/self-centredness will escalate and suffering will keep increasing and spreading.

This Buddha sasana of Sakyamuni, is the best window to break free and to establish one’s nature firmly on the path of dhamma.  Through this window, we can also develop the understanding and faith to walk this Bodhisattva way firmly with ease.

  • We should constantly ask: “Which stage of bodhi mind development are we at?”
  • We should aspire with utmost sincerity, faith and understanding to plant the seed of Bodhi deep into our nature to walk the Bodhisattva way by taking the 4 basic vows and all the other special aspirations and additional vows as given by Bro Teoh via his special printed format/notes to us.

These vows and aspirations are very important because:

  • “These are the Dharma understanding I need to have.”
    “These are the Right Views I need to understand.”
  • “I’m going all out to plant this seed of Bodhi to take this Bodhisattva vows sincerely, so as not to miss this window of opportunity, so that every life when this nature comes (whether choose to come or has to come), it will have these right dharma understanding and vows to go this way.”

Renew your vows every day, until it is instilled in your heart (may take about 3 months):

  • Read through your Bodhisattva vows’ notes with a sincere mind to reaffirm your vows and aspirations.
  • To renew your Four Great basic Vows and all your other aspirations and affirmations with understanding to stabilize and remember them firmly until you can recite them without having to refer to the notes anymore.

The seed of Bodhi will grow – nourished through wisdom and compassion to arise the bright Bodhi mind.
Your aspirations and vows will bring forth the way.

Strive on to be Spiritually Alive (free mind that understands – i.e. can settles down and becomes still on its own),
Strive on to be Spiritually Luminous (clarity of mind – no clinging to self or non-self) and
Strive on to be Spiritually Potent (overflowing with wisdom)

Silent Illumination is the experience of Boundless Spaciousness (awareness without a centre)
(meditative mind that is fully aware and very sensitive to the slightest internal stirring/movements  as well as external stimuli or sense data impringing.)

  • We cannot experience the mind as infinitely vast, if our mind is swamped with discursive thinking (preoccupied with narrow-minded views and heedless thinkingno longer aware)
  • We cannot experience the environment as infinitely vast, if our mind constantly discriminate among sense objects (swayed by discriminative thoughts, implies lacking in equanimity)
  • If your meditation does not give rise to wisdom, then you are missing the point entirely because only wisdom can shapes a person’s understanding and character to make them more noble in every aspect of their life. They will be humble, kind, sincere, honest, patient, forgiving, exude wholesomeness, etc. They will also have contentment, respect and gratitude and are very responsible (having right duties).
  • Awareness based Meditation has nothing to do with concentration and Silent without illumination is Samatha meditation. Illumination is awareness.
  • Signs of progress – a good check is: “Have I become more peaceful, calm and happy or have I become more egoic? Do I still have the evil roots of like and dislike, anger, frustration, unhappiness and discrimination?”

The topic on confronting old age, sickness and death as shared by Sister Mun Yuen in her whatsApp was discussed.  Sis Chwee commented that such similar messages have been widely circulated in the social media and that there is nothing new in this.

Bro Teoh then asks “Without the Dhamma, would you be able to overcome such life’s challenges?”

Sis Chwee replied: ‘for someone who has a strong attachment to the “self” (atta), he or she would not be able to accept aging as a reality and may likely suffer unless they have no choice but to finally accept such reality; however such acceptance by them is very different from those who have the dhamma. When we understand (that there is no real identity of a “self”), then there is no more need to justify such acceptance and we can even act with true compassion and understanding to help others (when conditions allow).

Bro Teoh shared some experiences from people confronting death, including a Kalyanamittas who had to confront disease and death when she was at the prime of her career. (For details please listen to the recorded sharing.)

Sis Chwee urge everyone (the old as well as the young) to cultivate the understanding of the 4 noble truths early, as death may come knocking anytime, unexpectedly.

Without the Dhamma, you cannot understand life, and you won’t know how to live life. Worst of all, you may not know how to die, as you do not understand what death is, and you will fear it. Also who die and what die?

When there is condition for you to encounter the Buddha Dhamma, you should go deep into it and develop all the understanding. Otherwise it is a waste, not being able to make use of it to help yourself, help your loved ones, and others with affinity, so that you may be a blessing to all and you can do your duties towards nature, fellow living beings, the world and the universal consciousness.

Sis Padmasuri shares that at first she thought she had understood the 4 noble truths, until she was recently tested by a very personal life’s challenge again. She finally reacted towards the additional responsibilities piled upon her when condition was rather harsh.

Sis Chwee applauds Sis Padmasuri for facing her challenge with courage and honesty. She adds that every age has its own challenges, and as we overcome each challenge, we learn and grow to be better versions of ourselves.

(Above outline short notes draft was prepared by Sis Soo Yee)

13 Cultivating the Bodhisattva’s Way 12 May 2019    (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 78-97

The 4 great/basic vows of the Bodhisattvas are very important as they will help to take us through the 5 stages of Bodhi mind developments cumulating to Buddhahood.

Stage 1: Aspire to plant the seed of Bodhi deep into your nature’s consciousness to arise the Bodhi mind.

To arise the Bodhi mind to walk the Bodhisattva way sincerely, with faith and perseverance via taking its 4 basic vows. These will set the conditions for us to be awakened. As our vows are being nurtured, the Bodhi mind becomes active even during era where there is no Buddha Sasana.

Stage 2: Bodhi mind that subdues all vexation or suffering.

Able to develop the wisdom not to be deluded by the phenomenal world so that one will not grasp, cling or hold on to them. That is how one is able to renounce the world, all worldly things which are unreal, condition arising and dependent originating. That is the reason why when we take this vow to endure and sever all vexations and suffering, we are cultivating renunciation.

Stage 3: Bodhi mind that illuminates the true nature or Buddha nature as enlightenment.

Vow to penetrate and understand all Dharma to realize the perfection of all wisdom leading to one’s ability to illuminate one’s true nature until it becomes so clear which means you are able to connect to the gateway to your nature. You are able to transform and illuminate that nature within. This third stage will make you a true Bodhisattva. This third stage is very powerful because after this stage, you will never regress.

Stage 4: Bodhi mind that renounces samsara.

Time or duration in samsara is not an issue anymore as by then we would have understood the profound diamond sutra cultivation of no thought, no mark and no dwelling. Cultivation and Perfection becomes easy at this stage onwards.

Stage 5: Bodhi mind that realizes the consummate of Sammasam Buddhahood.

Perfection of all the 10 Perfections. This stage is not difficult because as you cultivate the first four stages you would have started perfecting many of the 10 perfections especially Love, Renunciation, Sila, Panna, Viriya, Dana, Khanti, Adhitthana and Sacca.

Master Sheng Yen taught silent illumination (awareness) meditation which is similar to Brother Teoh’s teaching of the silent mind.

Silent without illumination is samatha meditation. This type of meditation is not with a free mind but with a conditioned mind. The 5 mental hindrances are all suppressed through energy field. They are mainly Jhana and one pointedness concentration type of practices. The mind is like blank because there is hardly any awareness within. You are like a Buddha statue and this type of mind cannot develop wisdom.

Brother Teoh’s silent mind with clear awareness within is a wisdom based meditation via a free mind, where one’s mind is relax, aware and without thought naturally borne of understanding/wisdom. The mind is not in concentration and has the ability to realize the true mind.

The mind needs the 5 spiritual faculties to root out the 5 mental hindrances to be in the meditative state. All methods and techniques are only initial skilful means to train the mind to have sati. They are not the meditation.

Renunciation to the Mahayana tradition, means to renounce all things that are not real, conditions arising and dependent originating. When we vow to sever all vexations and all suffering, we are cultivating renunciation. However, the Theravada tradition mainly teaches physical renunciation, i.e. to be a monk.

We need to cultivate all the 10 steps listed in the Avijja Sutta’s enlightenment cycle. Most of us kalyanamittas already have the first 3 steps of having true dharma friends, able to listen to the true Dharma & have faith in the Triple Gem. Now, we need to work on the 4th and 5th steps, (i.e. 4th Step: cultivating the initial wisdom (yoniso manasikara) while attending to step 2 and 5th step: Cultivating the daily mindfulness leading to sati sampajanna, the real meditation). These are the two most difficult steps. Step 4 is relatively easier.

Yoniso manasikara is cultivating the initial wisdom via the 1st and 2nd turnings of the Four Noble Truth’s wisdom to straighten our views after listening to the Dharma to weaken avijja (ignorance). The 1st turning wisdom is suttamaya panna (wisdom borne of hearing the Dharma) and the 2nd turning wisdom is cintamaya panna (Wisdom borne of reflection, inquiry, contemplation and Investigation to put to test all Dharma). This is also the advice from his teacher Phra Ajahn Yantra to Brother Teoh – ‘we choose contemplate all dharma until very, very clear’.

With yoniso manasikara in place, there will be less thinking and more moments of mindfulness leading to the 5th step cultivation of Mindfulness and clear comprehension (Sati Sampajanna) which is the real meditation. At this step, apply the 4 Right Efforts and the 5 Ways to overcome unwholesome thoughts as taught by the Buddha to progress. Especially the 3rd and 4th ways which are the meditative ways. Use the 3rd way (silent the mind) and the 4th way (trace the origination factors of the negative thought or mind state and then reverse it retrospectively) to cultivate.

After step 7 (the 3 ways of right conducts), one would have realize at least Sotapanaship (1st stage of sainthood) already where the first 3 fetters of sakayaditthi, rites and rituals and doubt in the Triple Gems have been severed. After finishing step 7 one might also realize sakadagamiship (2nd stage of sainthood) where the 4th and 5th fetters of sensual desire and ill-will have been attenuated.

At step 8 (cultivating the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness) onwards, one may realize at least Anagamiship (3rd stage of sainthood).

For those who understand, website is truly a dharma Gem. All the Dharma there are shared for free. So do make use of it. Develop the understanding of it then put them into practice. If you do not put them into practice, Dharma will remains as knowledge and it will not benefit you.

(Above outline short notes draft is by Sister Mun Yuen).

12 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 5 May 2019     (Short Notes pdf)

Reference book: Bro Teoh’s transcript book,Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way’, pages 73-77

Brother Teoh explained, the benefits and significance of taking the Bodhisattva vows are as follows: 

  • When we take the Bodhisattva vows with deep faith and sincerity, we get to immediately plant the Bodhi seed and the altruistic Bodhi mind deep inside our consciousness and This will give rise to causes and conditions and understanding to drive us to diligently cultivate to grow in wisdom, love & compassion quickly thereby weakening our propensity to do evil.
  • We no longer live in fear and insecurity borne of self-delusion because we come for the living beings. After self-delusion is severed, wisdom leading to further stability of mind (the 5 spiritual faculties) will arise. It is no more about “Me” only.
  • Taking the 3 sets of Pure Precepts and the 4 great vows of the Bodhisattva generate vast merits as it leads to a lot of wholesomeness and ultimately Buddhahood which is beyond self, thoughts, all marks and all dualities.
  • The vows will remain with us however many lifetimes it take for us to realize the complete enlightenment and it will always remain deep rooted in our nature.

(Note: Thus in an immediate and very concrete way, after receiving the Bodhisattva precepts, you are benefiting sentient beings, a deed that generates a vast amount of merit. And it is in this way that we undertake the practice of the third set of pure precepts to deliver all sentient beings. The observance of this precept actualizes our intention as put forth in the four great vows, and sets us decisively and firmly on the Bodhisattva path.)

Do not fear breaking the precepts because it will not erase the vows that are taken unless one expresses the intention to abandon the Bodhi mind. Breaking precepts will allow you to learn from them and we will understand that it is never worthwhile to break the precepts. We can perfect our cultivation to the point that it is impossible to break the precepts.

When we are ever mindful, our mind will be very still with inner awareness (in the meditative state) to awaken to the Truth. To do this, we must develop the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) borne of the first and second turnings wisdom needed to straighten our wrong views. Then with less avijja our mind will become quieter leading to more stable mindfulness to enable us to cultivate the mindfulness and clear comprehension of all movements and actions in the present moment. Daily mindfulness leading to this stability of mind is very important.

Sister PG: Brother Teoh asked why there is no question just now after the sharing of such a deep and important topic. After I came back from the China trip, I was very lax in my practice. I did not bother to do anything. I have a very silent sitting meditation just now and the 4 vows surfaced, especially the one on perfecting the vows until Buddhahood. Then the tears kept flowing uncontrollably.

Bro Teoh reminded all Kalyanamittas: ‘Ability to receive the Bodhisattva precepts including its vows are very rare and very meritorious. Please do make aspiration and affirmation to understand them clearly and deeply so that this understanding will be with your nature life after life. Do some serious contemplation and reflection to understand this clearly. Continuously remind yourself of the need to break all karmic obstructions which may obstruct you from receiving such teaching. You will see the changes in you after that. Conditions will start to arise for you to receive such teaching later on.

Make the necessary repentance and aspirations and do not let this golden window of opportunity go to waste or pass by without doing anything. Those who hold the Bodhisattva precepts and vows with great sincerity and unshakable faith will connect very fast.

Brother Song shares his recent experience of his nature understanding the profound Mahayana sutra/Dharma while chanting at a temple. Tears rolled down his face while he was reciting a sutra and his heart was vibrating strongly. The understanding was not by the thoughts. His thoughts tried to make sense of what was happening but it can’t. It was his nature that was with the understanding. When he tried to recall what happened later via his memory, he could not do it.

The one which is empty (with nothing) has everything because all things arise from true emptiness.

Accumulated views are stored in our memory. They are very powerful and can caused further delusion. If we can penetrate the 5 grasping aggregates of form and mind, we will awaken and have no more suffering.

Bro Song advised: Do not envy those who have progressed because before they progress they are like you starting from zero base. Just like Bro Song himself in the year 2013, he can’t understand my Heart sutra dharma notes and other transcripts despite having read them many times. Have faith. Follow Brother Teoh’s advice. Listen to the recordings and do the practice. Take the Bodhisattva precepts and vows with great faith sincerely and recite them frequently to stabilize its understanding. Faith is very important. Be sincere to cultivate diligently and be patient. Do be too eager to have progress. (Please do listen to Bro Song’s complete sharing which was very good via our audio recording).

When the energy becomes too strong, just relax into it and let it be.

If others draw from your nature’s energy, it will not drain it. In fact, your nature will rejoice and become more powerful. This is how Bro Teoh knows whether one has progressed or not especially the collective consciousness of our kalyanamittas force.

We can gauge whether we are doing the meditation correctly by checking whether we are more mindful, peaceful and heedful or not? And whether you have more moments of daily mindfulness and more space between thoughts and less reactions of mind while experiencing sense experience or not? If you have them, it means you have some progress.

(Above draft outline short notes was prepared by Sister Mun Yuen.)

11 Cultivating The Bodhisattva Way 7 April 2019    (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, page 62 to 65

We are all connected in existence. Everything within the conditioned world is interdependent. All our natures contribute to what the universe is today. Reason why it is often said, ‘one is all and all is one’.

The egoic mind that separates us from the Whole causes us suffering. Enlightened Beings can see clearly this truth or reality of life, i.e. no mark of a self, living being and life and also all phenomena are conditions arising and dependent originating following nature’s laws.

Explanation by Bro Teoh on – the importance of the 5 Daily Contemplations as advised by the Buddha.

Accept the law of karma. Don’t react to karmic fruition with negativity. Develop the right view. Follow the Noble Eightfold Path to resolve all issues and so called problem amicably. When one can understands this, one’s mind can be liberated. If this is not understood, one will suffer and become miserable. With the Dharma, life is beautiful and wonderful.

We cannot just want to help everyone that is suffering because there are so many suffering beings in the world and it is beyond our means. When there is no condition, nothing will be done. When there is condition developed via wisdom, help can be offered. A true cultivator must learn to differentiate between the desire to help (which is a craving) and true wisdom.

Relationship is considered important only for the form and mind which is subject to the law of karma.

Buddha hood is realized upon the completion of the cultivation of the Bodhisattva way.

Cultivate and investigate the Dharma to have the understanding to live life. To cultivate repentance to break karmic obstructions.

Do no continue to gullibly play the game of suffering, i.e. to indulge and cocoon oneself in wrong thoughts via holding on to one’s negative thoughts of previous experiences like fear, worry, phobia, insecurity, anxiety, sorrow and lamentation, etc. which impacted so much suffering on them. Re-playing all these negative memories again and again through wrong thoughts can lead to depression. Need to be aware of all these and abandon all these wrong thoughts which has become so habitual and so harmful via applying the 4 right efforts.

Whenever we are not happy and not peaceful, the evil roots and wrong thoughts have arisen. There are defilements. When one is caught in a cocoon of wrong thoughts one will be severely afflicted.

Question from Sister PG: How to establish affinity with Great Beings besides invoking power of merits?

Brother Teoh explained that we can pay respect to them and chant names of the Great Beings with faith.

Brother Teoh went through the Q&A section of an ealier Klang talk on understanding meditation where Sister Jeanne’s son asked whether anapanasati as taught by the Buddha is a technique or a meditation.

Meditation is to train the mind to be heedful to cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path (N8FP).

Heedfulness is to be ever mindful and constantly meditative of the N8FP.

The cultivation of the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness (after overcoming covetousness and grief) is the only way for the purification of beings, for overcoming of sorrow and lamentation and to realise enlightenment:

(1) First foundation – Kayanupassana or mindfulness of the physical body:

  • The Buddha recommends us to start with anapanasati which is just a method and technique that serve as an initial skilful means to train the mind to be mindful so that it does not wander off and be lost in thoughts.
  • After anapanasati is developed, do not continue to do it without understanding. Use it to develop Passaddhi (the silent mind in stillness) until the mind enters sati.
  • Then move on to cultivate the mindfulness of the 4 postures followed by mindfulness of all the movements between the 4 postures leading to the sati sampajanna practices. This daily mindfulness cultivation must reach the stability of mindfulness that can enable one to see one’s own mental intentions and mental defilements clearly (starting with the gross tending towards the subtle ones) to understand the spiritual teachings as taught by the Buddha clearly.

(2) Second foundation – vedananupassana or mindfulness of feelings

(3) Third foundation – cittanupassana or mindfulness of the content of consciousness

(4) Fourth foundation – dhammanupassana or mindfulness of the following essential dhamma:

      • Mindfulness of 5 mental hindrances
      • Mindfulness of 5 aggregates of form and mind
      • Mindfulness of 6 internal sense bases and 6 external sense bases
      • Mindfulness of the 7 factors of enlightenment
      • Mindfulness of the 4 Noble Truths (N8FP is the last Noble Truth)

(Above draft short notes were developed by sister  Mun Yuen)

10 Cultivating The Bodisattva Way 10 March 2019     (Short Notes pdf)     Law of Attraction Video     Cetasika Video     Cetasika Chart

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 55-62

Karmic fruitions can trigger karmic obstructions and they can be very powerful obstructions.

To clear karmic obstructions, one need to sincerely ask for forgiveness from the Triple Gem and all beings and vow not to repeat all these karmic negativities via following the advice of the Buddha to avoid all evil, cultivates wholesomeness and meditates to purify one’s mind. Then invoke power of merits for turn around and recovery.

The 10 Perfections cultivation are generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, spiritual zeal, patience endurance, truthfulness, determination/aspiration, loving kindness and equanimity.

Dharma is not just theory. It has to be cultivated while in the midst of life because it is a living dharma, not theory or knowledge which is not the true dharma. Investigate the Dharma in our daily life activities. When the Dharma stands up to investigation, there will be understanding and faith.

Only Bodhisattvas have precepts to break because Bodhisattvas have very extensive vows and work to do.

It is very important to understand what constitute evil so that they can be recognised and abandoned.

Strive on with heedfulness to connect to our true nature early in every life. Learn the Dharma fast so that the Bodhi mind or seed can be activated early to perfect our karmic nature until it cannot fall back any more.

Long or short period of cultivation time is of no significance for a Bodhisattva who had realized the Enlightenment.

Question from Sister Tammy: Is Adhitthana and Law of Attraction the same?

Brother Teoh explained that the Law of Attraction does not give the whole perspective of things as it does not take into account the law of karma. Even though the thoughts are positive and motivating but with evil roots, negative karma will arise. Then, those positive thoughts (with evil roots) may only work for a while in the beginning until the negative karmic fruition kicks in. (Do view and listen attentively to the video recording which is very clear and complete to understand this topic better. This video recording is available in our website under recording of classes.)

Question from Sister Soo: What is cetasika? How can cetasika help in our cultivation?

Brother Teoh explained that cetasikas are just mental concomitants/states/content of consciousness which we must be aware of while cultivating our daily mindfulness. (Do view and listen attentively to the video recording which is very clear and complete to understand this topic better. This video recording is available in our website under recording of classes.)

Brother Song shares his cultivation experience, where he experienced heightened awareness and understanding of the Dharma. His consciousness experience bright lights and was aware of even the birds flying high above his head but he was not distracted by such experiences. He continues to relax and maintain awareness until he can be aware of his very subtle greed, resentment and dislike including all the very fine mental movements and mind states within his mind.

Brother Teoh rejoiced with Brother Song’s rather good progress and understanding and cautioned others against attaching to the manifestation of bright light (consciousness very bright) which is one of the 10 defilements of insight because it is just a conditioned state. Clinging will block progress. Silent the mind until the mind enters sati. Stabilize the daily mindfulness until one can develop the direct seeing from their pure nature. (Must listen attentively to the audio recording from the 2hr 7 minutes onward to develop the clear and deep understanding of the actual cultivation.)

At the moment of sense experience and feeling, if there is the initial wisdom (yonisomanasikara) the mind will not stir and one will then have sense restraint and more moments of silent awareness.

Sister Soo asked why for a period she can have no feeling and thoughts during her recent spiritual trip to India. She also asked why at one stage she at the same time also has so much dislike or aversion towards those beggars that harass her and causing her to cringe. Later she can also see other people’s suffering, desire and greed for blessings and fame. She then decides to reverse the light and look within or inwards to see her own defilements.

Brother Teoh explained that her faith and conditioned mind brings about the initial calm state of mind that conditioned her to associate every encounter with equanimity. If she is mindful with a free mind it will not be the same. If she had relaxed into it and maintain awareness, it will change into a free mind. Regarding the beggars, there must be understanding to overcome or root out the aversion. The last part she did – to reverse the light and see within was good. Actual cultivation is usually the opposite way. One must reverse the light and look within to see our own defilements and how these defilements condition us via our own self-delusion to stir and project our thoughts leading to all the fear, worry anxiety and suffering borne of wrong thoughts. Through understanding ourselves we will be able to understand others. (Must listen attentively to the audio recording from 2hr 26 minutes onward to develop the clear and deep understanding of this cultivation.)

Bro Teoh introduced and shared the 3-Fold Lotus Sutra (Fa Hua San Bu Jing) with kalyanamittas.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

9 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 3 March 2019     (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 50-54

To establish and walk the Bodhisattva way requires great sincerity, faith and diligence. One must be able to endure all conditions to succeed.

Renunciation is a very important parami. Without true renunciation, one is unable to endure and sever all suffering and affliction because without true renunciation all our actions will condition attachment leading to suffering. Any form of clinging and grasping is a form of attachment and this means there is no real renunciation.

Even the Dhamma, no matter how beautiful must be renounced in the end as it is just like a raft that helps you to reach the other shore (liberation from the ocean of samsara). Any clinging to the Dhamma will not lead to cessation of the form and mind to realize nibbana (the enlightenment).

We need to renounce all our views, opinions, traditions, belief systems, personal identification, titles, conditionings etc. As long as our mind holds on to something, cessation cannot happen.

The third vow of the Bodhisattva is to cultivate and perfect all wisdom. Wisdom is not knowledge and is unending. The Samma SamBuddha has the ability to understand all conditions within any civilization.

An Arahant only ceases his mind. Whereas, the Buddha has perfected all wisdom. The Bodhisattva keeps coming back to the world to perfect their wisdom until they becomes a Samma SamBuddha.

The fourth vow is to perfect all the 10 Perfections leading to the realization of Buddhahood.

After the seed of Bodhi has been planted with proper understanding, one will not get lost even during a non-Sasana period. For Bodhisattva who has not stabilized their cultivation, they can still get lost during non-Sasana period. To overcome this, we need to follow Bro Teoh’s advice to make firm aspirations and affirmations for certain important right views to be developed life after life, cultivate affinity with all Great Beings and seek their blessing, protection and guidance and finally to invoke power of merits to overcome all karmic obstructions, etc. via following Bro Teoh’s recommended format as given by him to us in a card form.  During this Sasana, we should not miss this window to make such affirmations.

Greed includes all our clinging, attachments, holding on to our views, opinions, conditionings, traditions, wanting things our way, desires, possessiveness, etc. It also include one’s greed for merits and desire for enlightenment.

Sister Tammy shared a question by a yogi at a recent meditation retreat, who sees no joy in life since everything happening to her and her children are just boring daily routine of get up from sleep, brush teeth, has breakfast, go to work, doing our daily chores then sleep etc. This boring human routine is being practice from generation to generation and it does not give any meaning to life. However, Sister Tammy always hear Bro Teoh says, ‘life is beautiful and wonderful if we have the understanding’. So how do we reconcile such contradicting statements?

Brother Teoh’s answer:  The yogi said that because his/her mundane mind which is still deluded sees life with such limited horizon and pessimism. The mundane mind which is still deluded cannot sees the big picture because it lacks wisdom. Such a mundane mind perceives the world negatively. These people have allowed their thoughts to make their minds so petty and narrow in its outlook of life. They are not aware that when conditions are like that, things will be like that and it cannot be otherwise because they do not learn the dhamma. We need to see this truth and accept things as they are then develop the right understanding to act and move forward. If we resist, go against or fight with nature via wanting things our way, we will always suffer. Hence having the dhamma to understand the secret of life to enable us to live the good life with understanding is very important. Without dhamma we will cling, attach, have wrong views and suffer. We are unable to identify the real problem. For instance, we blame the Internet for pornography and technology for all the new problems but the real problem is not the internet and technology, it is the user of the Internet and technology. If the user is deluded (without wisdom) then internet and technology will become evil. Likewise with the thought, if we must meditate and develop the wisdom to liberate the mind from suffering then the user of thought is wise and thoughts becomes right, wholesome and wise thoughts. There will be wisdom and virtue throughout. With such understanding (wisdom) life becomes beautiful and meaningful. So the user of thought is more important. That is the reason why as cultivator of the dhamma we must strive on with heedfulness to realize the enlightenment then only can we understand life and get to live the noble life of an enlightened one. The dhamma also can help living beings transform themselves for the better leading to better life and improve well-being, happiness and joy.

Brother Teoh went on to share some interesting stories and examples that illustrate the above and the workings of karma.

Sister Tammy asked whether one right view can uproot heavy karma. Brother Teoh explained that it is possible and the fruition of past karma depends on the availability of conditions for their arising. A good example is that of Venerable Angulimala. Despite having killed 999 human beings he was able to enter monkhood leading to his ability to realize arahantship before he died.  After that there is no more rebirth hence no more condition for its killing’s further karmic fruition. But Angulimala did pay back part of his karma that life before he died. Please do listen to the audio recording for more details of Bro Teoh’s sharing.

The past is already gone so what is important is the present moment now. Therefore do not remorse or project your thoughts into the future – instead one should develop heedfulness to be ever mindful to cultivate. As long as we do not arise the negativity of mind, the condition for those negative karma to arise will not manifest unless it is one of the 5 very heavy karma. If a problem arises and we become angry, emotional and fearful (due to our wrong thoughts) then it can arise the causes and conditions for past negative karmic fruition to be triggered or unfold. We need to accept the reality of the moment and maintain calm, then look at the available options to resolve the issues amicably. There is no point asking “what ifs….” Questions because these are not reality. We just need to make the appropriate wise decisions and move on.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

8th Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 27 Jan 2019     You and nothingness are one   (Short Notes pdf)

Reference to J Krishnamurti’s daily quote on ‘You and Nothingness are one’

The concept of anatta is difficult to comprehend. You are nothing because the form and mind is not you. It is only a ‘vehicle’ and a ‘tool’ (karmically conditioned from your karmic nature) for you to come to this existential world. It is just a condition arising/dependent originating causal phenomenon, hence not a permanent unchanging entity that you can call, “this is ‘Me’, this is ‘I’ and therefore all these can be mine”.

That true nature is the unconditioned; it cannot come out to live life. To come to this existential world, a segmented life (form and mind) is needed. This form and mind need a karmic nature to arise. To locate the gateway to realize your true mind/true nature, you need to silent your mundane mind completely until the sati (mindfulness) and passaddhi are very stable. Without this realization of the true mind, you cannot understand the true Buddha Dhamma. The moment you realize it, you are the Buddha. The Buddha’s true nature (or Buddha nature) is also called the Original nature, the one ness nature and the Source. It is the source of all things and from there everything comes about.

The Tao Te Ching 道德经 (by Laozi 老子) states that whatever that can be described or spoken is not the true Tao, yet nothing is apart from the Tao because the Tao is the source of all things.

The phenomena worlds of consciousness are impermanent and unreal and all phenomena are mind made.

Whenever there is a choice, there is confusionChoiceless awareness means, just aware and there is no mundane mind or thought or any other entity involve. If you can do that you will understand how the mundane mind creates all the false perceptions through its wrong views.

In most meditation retreats you were told to “watch your mind” and “note this and note that”. You have to inquire, who watch and who note? All these watching and noting are by the thought which is egoic. In fact, when you are mindful you will come to understand that there is no one to watch or note anything because the observer is the observed, so there is no watcher or observer. When you deludedly associate with the sense perception (which is also part of the thought that perceived), that perception/thought creates the thinker, the observer and the deluded perception. It is this great delusion that conditioned human suffering. The Buddha said the 5 aggregates of form and mind are impermanent and empty and in the seeing, it is just the seeing consciousness, there is no one to see. It is just a natural manifestation like the physic experiment involving the light bulb and the battery. This is how the cultivators get caught.

When you input that content of consciousness through your views, opinions, conditioning and self-delusion, the mental 5 aggregates of Form and Mind arises and self-delusion sets in, then you said “I” see. That is how the observer, the personality and the egoic mind come about. See it clearly with the silent mind in pure awareness and not through Dhamma knowledge. When you can see it during the meditation, there is no word, not concept, just an insight or awakening through that pure awareness. You will then understand that the 5 aggregates of form and mind are not you; they are impermanent, anatta and empty. There is no thinker behind the thought. Thoughts are response to memory. Thought arises on its own and create thinking. Hence, they are not two separate entities. However, when there is self-delusion, the thought creates the thinker hence the separation.

What is consciousness? It is just the pure awareness with its content. Consciousness arise and passed away very fast hence it is not real. It is just a mental movement. Human beings find it difficult to understand consciousness as it is invisible, intangible and unperceivable by the mundane mind.

We have been creating thoughts since birth but we take it for granted as thought seem so natural to us. When we are silent, we can be aware of the thought processes. We can be at the moment of awareness before the knowing and also at the moment of feeling and perception, when our sati is very stable. If you wanted to understand all this, you just need to silent your mundane mind then everything will just flow. The specific phenomenon awareness and the phenomenal move as one. The spacious awareness without a centre, is just an awareness with no label. If it needs to create thought it will input the content but these thoughts will not proliferate. On the contrary, when you are in the meditative state, there is no word, nothing. The true cultivation is not from thought. Truth (Dhamma) is to be realized by the wise and this truth is akaliko or timeless (beyond thought and beyond mind). The meditative silent mind can insight into phenomena and awaken but it cannot do anything else because it is just an awareness – nothing else (with no word, concept or thought). The form and mind is connected to the awakening/wisdom so it is no longer deluded and you can say the form and mind is enlightened. But it is not you, it is just the segmented form and mind. After the wisdom connected it is no longer deluded by the phenomenal world or the aggregates of mind. This is what awakening is all about. You need to insight into phenomena and see it clearly in the meditative state of silent awareness without thought.

Reference book: Bro. Teoh’s Transcript book, ‘Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way’, pages 47-50

To meditate is to bring about heedfulness and heedfulness has two parts: Ever mindful and constantly meditative as defined in Dhammapada verse 23. One need to train the mundane mind to be mindful first then stabilize it until it is ever mindful and use it to cultivate Noble Eight-Fold path. Meditation is not about using any special method or technique to do it. They are only skilful means use to train the mundane mind to be heedful. The moment you are heedful you are destined for enlightenment (dhammapada verse 21).

If the 5 spiritual faculties are very stable, mental hindrances cannot arise, hence you are naturally in sati when you sit. Stabilize this sati and silent everything while in the formal meditation (meditative environment) so that mind enters sati until suddenly you can experience the body and the mind move as one without thought and everything you do whether seeing or hearing, you are in sati. You are fully aware of all actions and moments while in the midst of life. Develop it until the daily mindfulness is very stable.  However, this can only happen after you have started contemplating, reflecting and inquiring deep into the Dhamma to straighten your view to arise the initial wisdom of yonisomanasikara. At the moment of sense experience, with right view your mind will not stir. Avijja paccaya sankhara link is weaken leading to more moment of silent awareness and less mental stirring. Thinking reduces because of right view. The spiritual faculties of Saddha and sati will result in a calm and compose mind in you, while the viriya drives you to cultivate. Your mind will become quiet and aware. You do not need to “try or practice” to be aware/heedful, it comes naturally. Your wisdom to accept things as they are with right view will make you peaceful and calm.

The Avijja Sutta is a very good guide for cultivators. The faith (Saddha) will be strengthen as you straighten your view. Then viriya will drive you to develop the yoniso manasikara or initial wisdom. With that, there will be more moments of mindfulness leading to sati sampajanna (daily mindfulness with clear comprehension) while living life. After that, you definitely can see the evil roots clearly and the 4 right efforts will be cultivated leading to sense restraint and the three ways of right conduct. Only then, can you move on to cultivate the 4 foundation of mindfulness. The sense restrain borne of the initial wisdom will enable you to overcome covetousness and grief. The Buddha said after overcoming covetousness and grief, then you can develop the 4 foundation of mindfulness practices. After you have developed the stability of mindfulness (sati sampajanna) you will understand the cultivation of the 4 foundation of mindfulness easily and progress very fast, then the 7 factors of enlightenment will arise and you are destined for enlightenment.

After taking the Bodhisattva vows to go the Bodhisattva way sincerely, everything will start to happen, as the vows will take you along. As a Bodhisattva you will have the understanding to come for the living beings, to fulfill the vows and understand all these cultivation and movements that involved the nature, the perfection and the great transformation. The journey though long but it is very rewarding. When you know how to come, you will know how to connect early and you do not need to suffer if you know how to develop the vows and aspirations appropriately. The Arahant of the sainthood way only realizes the stage of no thought then cease. But once you cultivate until you have the understanding of the stage of no mark and no dwelling (as taught in the Diamond sutra) your cultivation become very different. If you can understand the 4 stanzas of Diamond Sutra** and teach it to the world, the merits that your nature receive is of vast difference as compare to cultivators of the sainthood way. This vast amount of merits your nature receive is only possible if you go the Bodhisattva way. You can then progress very fast in the cultivation via invoking the power of this merits. Later on when your mundane mind collapse, you can realized the 3rd hallmark of the Diamond Sutra/Hui Neng’s Teaching of the mind having no dwelling. By then you are at least at the 3rd stage of Bodhi mind development – Bodhi mind that realizes your true nature. The 4th stage is when you are able to renounce samsara after having realize your true nature.

The 3rd hallmark of no dwelling is really beautiful. Without the mundane mind, your true nature which is just awareness will shine forth. Such a mind (the supra mundane mind) does not dwell and it just manifest specifically phenomenon awareness or spacious awareness without a centre while living life. It knows samsara is not real. When you are have that ability, you will understand how to develop the vows further and create great affinities with all the Samma Sambuddha and other great beings’ natures, so that their nature will take you along. Then, technically, you do not need to do anything. You just accord and flow with faith, sincerity and diligence. Everything will fall into place because you have constantly pay respect, create great affinity and strengthened your vows and invoke the power of merits for causes and condition for them to constantly guide, protect and bless your nature. This is the reason why Maitreya Buddha’s nature in the year 2008 came and request my nature to help transmit the true teaching for benefit of all living being. This sasana is a very small window, the moment this sasana’s window is close, without the vows you may not stand a chance at all. During the Dhamma ending ages, you cannot develop the understanding due to lack of sasana to learn the teaching.

Meditation reporting followed by Question and Answer

Question 1: Sis Eng Bee reported her meditation. She was very relax and mind very calm and there was a smile in her face. The tranquil sensation felt internally were beautiful. She was aware of all the background vibration of the fan, the breathing, the heartbeat and the sound of heavy breathing and traffic from afar. It is like she is aware internally and aware externally but cling to none, all as per the satipatthana sutta’s teaching.

Answer by Bro. Teoh:  That is how you are supposed to understand it as per the satipatthana sutta’s teaching. When you are aware long enough (internally and externally) you will come to understand that they are all dependent originating phenomena. The 4 foundation of mindfulness is for you to train your mind to develop the wisdom and understanding, so that you will not cling (knowing they are impermanent and are all mind made). They do not have any true essence or nature of their own. Your form and mind is not a permanent unchanging entity, hence anatta.

During meditation you are supposed to silent completely. After you have developed the stability of that silent awareness you can insight into phenomena and understand many things. You must not try to explain or interpret all these while in the meditation. Do not try to know while in the meditation, just maintain the clear awareness will do. Reflect only after you have come out from the meditation. The mind that is not silent will develop perception and mental chattering. The moment it perceives, the word/concept comes in, your mundane mind had arisen. Initially the words may still arise due to previous habitual tendencies. But when you further relax and don’t do anything, it will dissolve on its own and the mind become very quiet, then you can perceive the silence. That is your true mind, your true nature. From this stillness you are able to experience the real awareness or essence of mind without a centre. Any contact with any of the sense organ especially hearing, will become very clear to you. You can describe all the things that you are aware of as this mind continues to make contact with the senses. During those moments there is no perception, it is just pure awareness before the knowing arising. If you continue to stabilize this silence, you will reach passaddhi (the tranquillity and stillness of mind) leading to Samadhi once this passaddhi stabilized. Samadhi is the unwavering and collected mind, it will not be affected by whatever sense experience that arise at the sense door. When the stability is there, you will have clarity of mind to see things as they are. Then if you continue to relax, the stability will build up until your mind become completely tranquil and still, then the true awareness (which is your essence of mind or true nature) can be realized.

This is the mind that can be aware without words. This stability will build up until your wisdom is developed. When the conditions are ready, you will realize cessation. If you have your past cultivation, you may not have to go through the 4 foundation of mindfulness cultivation again to awaken via the direct seeing. Sometime you may awaken while in the formal meditation giving rise to the 3rd turning wisdom (bhavana maya panna) which is different from the 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom.

Awakening can also happen during daily mindfulness or dynamic state, but most of the time – for such awakening it is only one glimpse of cessation, then the mind ceases. Later on as you go into the formal meditation, your mind will silent easily and the cessation will happen for a longer period. As your awareness is there, you will understand what happened. This is what Nibbana is all about. The 5 aggregates of form and mind including the pure awareness, all cease and you cannot describe what happened because it is the unconditioned. It is not a mind state, it is just that cessation. It is not an experience because no mind is involved. Bro. Teoh also relate his past experience of the mind realizing the oneness state where the mind had become one with everything. He also shared how his form and mind realize those cessation. Then after that he started to understand the Dhamma on its own. However for this to happens, your daily mindfulness must be very stable and you must have reflected and contemplated deeply into the 3 universal characteristic of nature.

Later when his last guide showed him the location of the gateway to his nature he was able to immediately access it because his daily mindfulness was already very stable and through trust (without the interference of thought) he was able to stabilize his nature’s internal movements. Then within 9 months his mundane mind collapse. All these are possible due to his past cultivation, vows and aspirations.

So for Sister Eng Bee’s case, she just need to relax and silent her mind completely. Let all the mind activities slow down and she will experience the quietness leading to the tranquillity and stillness of mind. No thought or mind activity is involve. The heedless proliferation of thought will all cease. It is just specific phenomenon awareness. Bro Teoh also recalled his past experience, where he was just aware without any thought most of the time while in the midst of living life. Unless he need to manifest to perceive and communicate the mind is just aware. No longer like before with all the mental chattering and heedlessly thinking (lost in thoughts).

You can be aware internally of your own Kayanupassana activities and also aware externally of other people’s Kayanupassana activities when your daily mindfulness is very stable. The same can also happen for all the other vedananupassana, cittanupassana and dhammanupassana activities because your mind has become so sensitive and so fine. When you are able to be aware inwardly of all your inner feelings, reactions of mind, various mind states, emotions, etc. while cultivating your daily mindfulness and sati sampajanna practices over a period of time, then later on likewise you will be able to develop the understanding and sensitivity of mind to feel and understand other people’s emotions, fear, anxiety and problem outwardly too.

Your mind is less tangible and invisible so you cannot perceived it. Mindfulness must sets in. If the stability of mindfulness is not developed, you are not ready for the 4 foundation of mindfulness cultivation.  After your mundane mind had developed the right view/straightening of view via the initial wisdom, the Avijja-pacaya sankhara link weakens then you will have more moments of mindfulness and more clarity. You will suddenly be able to see your subtle mental intentions and sankhara activities. At the moment of the arising of 5 aggregates you are mindful and can be with the moment of perception, feeling, etc. So stability of daily mindfulness is very important. Bro Teoh’s daily mindfulness came to him within two weeks of his very determined training to be aware after promising the Buddha to be ever mindful in the midst of life soonest possible.

You will understand that the 5 aggregates of form and mind are impermanent and it is not you. If you deludedly grasp and cling onto it, you will suffer. The 12 links (paticcasamuppada) explains it very clearly. The Avijja sutta explained the steps involved clearly. When you see it clearly, the delusion melts away then you realize that everything is just the way it is. When you do the correct meditation, which is just relax, silent and aware you will progress. As you straighten your views after seeing all these in your daily mindfulness, the sense restrained leading to the 3 ways of good conduct will be present. You are incapable of negativity. Then the satipatthana practices become very easy. You will realized the unreality of form and mind. Then your mind will start to silent and cease. That is how you awaken. With daily mindfulness, the direct seeing will happen by itself. No need to use thought.

Bro Teoh also realized that when he does not do anything to stir the mundane mind, the mind will enter sati on its own. When it has entered sati, the slightest movement will be like magnified and the mind is clearly aware. At that point even the subtle movement of the subtle breathing will become clear to him, the more refine awareness all come back to him. He realized he could not feel them earlier because his mind has not entered the more refine sati state as yet. When he came out from that state, the awareness is always with him because the mind has enter sati. When he walk his body and mind is as one. All the physical movements and nature’s phenomenon is like slow down and appear like a graceful flow to him. Everything he does (his seeing, hearing, smell, taste and tactile) is in sati. Then he knew what sati is. But there was no word to describe it until his last teacher gave him 2 pieces of J Krishnamurti’s   cassette tapes on meditation. The 1st tape is on awareness and acting according to memory is not acting at all. The moment he heard that, his nature immediately knew why most cultivators (especially scholar monks) are trapped in memory. His nature knew how the mundane mind input the content of consciousness via its wrong views, opinions and conditioning to stir it. Then he started to understand the satipatthana practices on his own. You can only understand all these with awareness or via a very stable sati (daily mindfulness).

Due to Sister Eng Bee’s question, the condition to explain these Dhammas arise. Just relax and silent your mind during meditation, do not try to know or relate to the Dhamma while in meditation. You can reflect and contemplate after the meditation as the true meditation is not to arise the thought to be heedless but to be aware in silent awareness. The mind that is aware, Is before the knowing, before the content of consciousness went in, you are supposed to stabilize the awareness that’s it. Due to that rather stable awareness, when you came out of the meditation, you will be able to see your thought clearly. Recollection can arise when you are mindful of the action or the thought as they arise earlier. So sati is related to recollection but sati or mindfulness is not memory or you trying to remember. It is because you are mindful of those actions or movements earlier, you can recollect what had happened.

When you are in the meditative state just maintained awareness. Then sankhara will slow down and finally stops. Bro Teoh is able to discover and understand all these because of his past cultivation. His Bodhisattva vows and aspiration to have this understanding life after life whenever he choose to arise also helps him. That is how whenever his nature arise, it will connect very fast. Just like Hui Neng’s case, when heard the diamond sutra, he just awaken even though he is an illiterate. Hence you do not need education to awaken to the truth. Awakening has nothing to do with the words and concepts. It is the nature that understands. Bro Teoh continued to share, that it is relatively easy for the mundane mind to established mindfulness. When the mundane mind collapse, you cannot do mindfulness with the supra-mundane mind, the true mind because it is so fine and just aware naturally and there is nothing to do as the understanding and the true nature already shine forth, so no more doing.

You must remember the main purpose of meditation is to train your mind to be mindful then stabilize it until it is ever mindful leading to heedfulness. When mind realizes passaddhi it means you are with the true mind, the tranquillity and stillness of mind, then when you come out from the meditation, your movement are naturally with awareness. It is like a flow. You realize you are already naturally mindful and heedful. After that the cultivation of the Noble Eight-Fold path is very easy. You contemplate right view with regards to Law of Kamma, Dependent Origination and Dhamma Niyama to arise right thought. Then you have to reflect on, what constitute right thought then put it into practice via the 4 right efforts. You must have daily mindfulness to have sense restrain. According to Avijja sutta, when you have sense restrain, your 3 ways of right conduct become automatic. Then you are destined for enlightenment.

Note: 4 stanzas of Diamond Sutra ** 一切有为法,如梦幻泡影, 如露亦如电, 应作如是观 – Everything within the condition world are conditioned dhamma; Life’s moments as conditioned dhamma are like dreams, illusions, bubbles and shadows; Like dew and a lightning flash, hence fleeting and impermanent; One should contemplate it thus.

(Above draft was prepare by Sister Tammy)

7th Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 6 Jan 2019     (Short Notes pdf)

Ref. book: Bro. Teoh’s transcript book ‘Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way’, pages 40-47

Brother Teoh commenced the class by introducing his latest transcript book, ‘The Five Aggregates of Form and Mind’. Please also refer to last Tuesday and Thursday classes’ introduction on the book.

The 5 mental hindrances hinder the mind from being peaceful and aware within when we lack the 5 spiritual faculties.

The mundane mind with delusion is always agitated, has fears, worries, anxiety, likes & dislikes, etc. because it lacks sati and it wanders off (lost in thought) into heedless thinking very fast.

All methods/techniques/objects of meditation are skillful means to train and anchor the mind to the object of meditation so that the mind will not have wandering thoughts. These methods, techniques and objects of meditation never define the meditation.

Focusing, concentrating and noting are thought based meditation. By doing so your mundane mind is active hence you are not with the true mind.

It does not mean that if we are not doing anapanasati or noting the rise and fall of the abdomen, we are not doing vipassana or meditating. Anapanasati and all these noting are just initial skilful means to train the mind to have a stable sati.

Focusing on an object of meditation will lead to samatha concentration. Eventually, we still need to release the concentration energy back to normal awareness to cultivate the daily mindfulness (aware of our actions, movements, postures, etc.) in daily life to develop the sati sampajanna practices.

The objective of going to a retreat is to train the mind to have a stable sati leading to the experience of piti, sukha and passaddhi. Retreat places are usually conducive environments for us to train our mind and we need to train the mind until it is heedful in the midst of life. It must be a free mind, not a conditioned mind.

Heedfulness means ever mindful and constantly meditative (cultivating the Noble Eightfold Path). Only when the mind is heedful, are we able to do vedananupasanna and cittanupasanna.

Meditation is to train the mundane mind to realize the Law of Dependent Originating, to be able to insight into the 3 universal characteristics of impermanence, non-self and suffering.

Brother Teoh shared his rather unique experience of how the 4 Noble Truths had a great impact on him when he first came across it in the year 1971. Others were encouraged to share their experience too.

In Sister PG’s sharing, she vowed to have the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths life after life, after reading the phase, ‘whatever that arises, there are causes and conditions behind. And these causes and conditions, my Teacher has taught me’.

Another Brother became a vegetarian overnight after reading the Diamond sutra Dharma book.

(Above draft was prepare by Sister Mun Yuen)

6 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 16 Dec 18    (Short Notes pdf)

Reference book: Bro Teoh’s transcript book, ‘Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way’, pages 37-41

After one realized Nibbana in the here and the now, one will understand what this 5 aggregates of form and mind is. For the sotapana they usually experience only a glimpse of this cessation (Nibbana) but this is already profound enough.

The eternal Nature is never born, therefore never dies.

The mundane mind cannot conceptualize or express in words what Nibbana is?

Dharma is just the teaching pointing towards the realization of Nibbana.

Only the form and mind that has gone through this cessation can understands, otherwise, it’s just knowledge based on ideas and concepts.

We must meditate and cultivate sincerely and diligently to realize this cessation.

To walk the Sainthood way, refer to the Heart Sutra Short Notes Book.

Have faith, sincerity and perseverance to develop the cultivation until Sati comes.

Daily mindfulness (Sati Sampajana) is very important – it must be cultivated before one can move on to cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness. With Sati, one will have wise attention at the moment of sense experiences, leading to sense restraint. Sense restraints enables one to develop the 3 ways of right conduct.

Only after overcoming covetousness and grief, can we begin on the cultivation of the 4 Foundations of mindfulness.

Please refer to the very important Thursday class outline short notes dated 6 December 2018 to check your progress in the cultivation. These notes put forth the guidelines for you to be awakened. The short notes talk about the Avijja Sutra.

The Dharma sharing has to be repeated because the important messages have not been sunk in as yet. Most of you are still having your old habits, reacting the same way (with fear, worry, anxiety etc.) to sense experiences. When one lack understanding of the cultivation one tend to seek for teachers and teaching everywhere without any clear focus. When the Dharma is not put into practice with understanding one can never progress. Reason why pariyatti is the 1st phase of dhamma is very important.

We must have gratitude and thank our good karmic nature to have met up with the true Teachings this life.

After we have trained the mind to develop sati via formal meditative training, stabilized it to develop the daily mindfulness until you are ever mindful and constantly meditative. Determine to be aware all the time.

The 2nd session is meditation for 45 minutes followed by a review of the 6th December Thursday class outline short notes which are very important. Please do listened to the recording for detail of its sharing.

(Above draft by Sister Chow Mun Yuen)

5 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 25 Nov 2018    (Short Notes pdf)

Reference book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way by Brother Teoh (page 32)

When someone asked Master Hsuan Hua whether an Arahant can be reborn again, he replied that unless the person asking the question is an Arahant, otherwise the question was unnecessary. According to the Mahayana tradition, an Arahant can still go the Bodhisattva way if he understands how to do it via taking the 4 basic vows.

Bro Teoh shared the emails written by a Singaporean lady. Initially her questions came from her thought. Bro Teoh advised her to focus on the cultivation instead. After one year, her understanding deepened. Then she asked whether the Buddha could exist again in form and mind. Bro Teoh eventually answered her question since she was sincere to find out. He encouraged her to focus on her cultivation and not ask too many thought based questions.

The Buddha spoke these words of victory after His enlightenment : –

Seeking but not finding the house builder,
I hurried through the round of many births:
Painful is birth ever and again

O house builder, you have been seen;
You shall not build the house again.
Your rafters have been broken up,
Your ridgepole is demolished too.

According to Bro Teoh, many people interpreted this above saying as indicating His last birth. But the actual understanding is complex and requires a lot of wisdom for this to be understood. The Buddha’s nature exists eternally so His vows have become part of nature’s laws. Those who know how to connect and develop affinity with Him or His vows will know how to benefit from it. That is the reason why we should take refuge in The Triple Gem.

When it comes to taking birth, this so-called human being consisting of the five aggregates of form and mind is karmically-conditioned out as a vehicle and tool for us to come to this existential world. Without the five aggregates, we cannot come. After the Buddha’s Parinibbana, the question of whether the Buddha can reappear in another form and mind does not arise at all in the Theravada tradition.  The words of the Buddha have been misconstrued to mean otherwise.

This karmically-conditioned five aggregates of form and mind can take rebirth in two ways: – the normal rebirth via ignorance (for normal unenlightened being) and rebirth through pure consciousness (Bodhisattvas and Great Beings). For the latter, they choose to take rebirth out of love and compassion and not out of ignorance. Sakyamuni Buddha still has a karmic nature and a spiritual nature. His spiritual nature is complete. When he comes through the pure consciousness, he will not be a Samma Sambuddha again following his earlier prediction. He will inherit the spiritual nature and come as a great being. The Theravada may finds this unacceptable although for the Mahayana, this is totally acceptable.

(Page 34) The manifestation in form and mind can still occur thought there is no craving and delusion. This was confirmed by Bro Teoh in response to the question asked by the Singapore lady.

Another Kalyanamitta, Sister Ellen, wrote to Bro Teoh and expressed her joy in meeting him and the Kalyanamittas as well as learning the dhamma from a great teacher. Her question was similar in nature to the Singapore lady about Bodhisattva vows and reappearing through their vows or karma. Again, Bro Teoh confirmed that this is possible. One can make aspirations to be reborn in any realm one wants to be. For the Bodhisattvas, in every life that they come, they will have to connect to their true nature (unless the form ceases too early) to inherit their past cultivations.

Bro Teoh related his own experience, when at the age of six or seven, his consciousness left his body. He never knew how to meditate then but he can still be aware of the cessation happening when he felt the craving force binding the body dissipating before the remnant of consciousness came out. He knew what was happening inside him because his awareness was naturally there. There was absolutely no fear.

When Bro Teoh connected to his true nature in 1989, he could understand all these via recalling what he had gone through earlier on. This does not apply only to him but to any cultivator who has developed such similar understanding.

(Page 36) When a normal living being (without a stable awareness) dies, he loses awareness very fast and kamma takes over. If there is delusion before death, the kammic consciousness will take over much earlier.

The Avijja Sutta is a very important sutta. One can use it to check on one’s cultivation following the sequence or link that the Buddha has expounded. One can also check if one has done it correctly or not.

Avijja implies ignorance of the truth or laws that govern nature, life and existence. The conditioned world is a world of conditioned entities governed by nature’s laws namely the five universal orders (panca niyama). The first two scientific laws are the physical law of nature (utu niyama) and biological order of nature (bija niyama). The other three are the spiritual laws namely the Law of Kamma (kamma niyama), the Law of Mind (citta niyama) and the Law of Dhamma (dhamma niyama). The Buddha was able to come out with the realization of these 3 great spiritual laws.

The scientists are able to bring about such rapid progress to civilization because of their understanding of the first two scientific laws. Similarly the Buddha’s complete understanding of the 3 great spiritual laws also bring about great wisdom and understanding for him to realize the secret of life in its totality. The laws that govern life and existence are very important because when we gain understanding of them, we will know how to live life well.

The Avijja Sutta explains clearly the law of mind (citta niyama) governing ignorance via his Avijja seqence. Without this understanding, we cannot really begin the cultivation. There are two sequences in the Avijja Sutta. The first sequence explains how human beings become deluded due to ignorance and are thus trapped in samsara. The second sequence is the enlightenment sequence where it explained how one can break free from this ignorance cycle.

Each of the factors in the sequence has its own nutriments. According to the Buddha, the nutriments for avijja are  due to the five mental hindrances; the nutriment for the 5 mental hindrances are due to the 3 ways of bad conduct (through body, mind and speech); and the nutriment for this 3 ways of bad conduct us due to lack of sense restraint; and the nutriment for this lack of sense restraint is due to lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension; and the nutriment for this lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension is due to ayoniso manisakara (unwise attention); and the nutriment for this lack of yonisomanasikara is due to lack of faith in The Triple Gem; and the nutriment for the lack of faith in the Triple Gem is due to not listening to the true dhamma; and finally the reason or nutriment for not listening to the dhamma is due to lack of dhamma/noble friends.

To remove delusion, we need to reverse the order of the above sequence. Hence, with dhamma friends or Kalyanamittas, we will get to listen to the dhamma and the sequence goes on until we are able to return to the initial link of having the 3 ways of good conducts then only can we cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness leading to the arising of the 7 factors of enlightenment to awaken thus removing avijja or ignorance.

According to Bro Teoh, the website came about through him having this concept of true Kalyanamittaship. Having real or true noble/dhamma friends or Kalyanamitta is very unique and important because according to the Buddha kalyanamittaship is 100% of the holy life. Without true Kalyanamitta, it is impossible to develop the understanding of the cultivation because having dhamma friends is one of the pre-requisite for becoming an ariya and not associating with good dhamma friends is the starting nutriment to the wrong path leading to avijja and heedlessness.

The enlightenment sequence consists of 10 links. True knowledge leading to enlightenment is very important and the nutriment of this is to have the 7 factors of enlightenment (satta bojjhanga); and the nutriment for the 7 factors of 7 factors of enlightenment is due to the cultivation of the four foundations of mindfulness; and the nutriment for this is the three ways of good conducts; and the nutriment for this 3 ways of good conduct is due to having restraint in the sense faculties; and the nutriment for having sense restraint in the sense faculties is to have daily mindfulness and clear comprehension; and the nutriment for having this mindfulness and clear comprehension is to have this  yoniso manisakara; and the nutriment for having this yonisomanasikara is to have faith or confidence in The Triple Gem; and the nutriment for having this faith is via listening to the true dhamma; and finally the nutriment for listening to the true dhamma is to associate with true/good dhamma friends.

The Buddha mentioned to Venerable Ananda that having noble friends is 100per cent of the holy life. Bro Teoh advised fellow Kalyanamittas to go and read the Avijja Sutta and find out where we are in our cultivation and whether we are making progress in our cultivation or not?

Meditation reporting

  • Sister Alicia mentioned that two weeks ago while she was listening to the chanting of Om Mani Padme Om in Melaka, the words went into her nature. She was sitting quietly with tears flowing, feeling grateful and the chanting of Om Mani Padme Om was playing within her nature. Her awareness was with her bodily movements and chanting as one in perfect synchrony. She felt very relaxed and the mind was like completely empty – no words, no concept nothing at all.

Bro Teoh commented that this was a good sign. He said in that awareness there was no word, no concept or anything at all in that true nature. He advised Sis Alicia to let it stabilize for the more refine understanding to arise. The unconditioned cannot be described but the subtle arising of the mundane mind can still be detected by that true mind. The nature itself can understand many things so the state of not knowing (from the mundane mind) is the best state to be in.

  • Bro Song reported that he had stopped joining the chanting sessions at a temple for quite a few months. But he decided to join the morning chanting again one day. After the chanting, during lunch, he could feel how silent he was within. There were no sankharas. Then, while the `Da Pei Chan’ was being chanted, he was sneezing non-stop. Later, he was told that it was the repentance chanting. The next day during Bro Teoh’s Sunday class, instead of lying down to meditate and listen as usual, he tried sitting up to listen to the dhamma talk. Bro Song was very surprised that he could still understand the talk from within his nature as before while in the sitting posture.

Bro Teoh explained that what Bro Song went through was a natural consequence of what he had been doing earlier on. In the past, he asked questions related to the cultivation. Bro Teoh used to advise him not to ask but to do. Even when he was lying down, the vibration had gone into the heart area. Even after he had connected to his nature, the understanding has not stabilized. It is always the thought that comes in via the ‘back door’ to ask questions. This understanding cannot be committed to memory because it will become knowledge if you do that. After Bro Song has understood that point, and from then on he just cultivate with faith, sincerity and diligence. This is the reason why all these can happen when the understanding had stabilized. Brother Teoh also mentioned that seeking repentance is deeper than asking for forgiveness. By doing so, one can break one’s karmic obstructions and enable one’s cultivation to flow more smoothly.

A Kalyanamitta sent Bro Teoh a whatsapp message from The Daily Tejaniya postings, quoting: `there are two kinds of samadhi: one that comes from concentrating on one object exclusively, and the samadhi that is born of right view, right attitude and right thought. There are two corresponding practices …’

According to Bro Teoh, Samadhi and Vipassana cannot be practised. Practice is repetitive and mechanical because to practise is to repeat doing something. It is just like practising to be skilful in playing a game, cooking etc. Whereas Vipassana is an awakening, an insights into phenomena borne of the direct seeing. There must be conditions for it to arise via the silent mind. Hence, there is no thought or practice involved.

Bro Teoh explained that with wisdom at the moment of sense experience, there is yoniso manisakara. Hence, one will not react through delusion. Wisdom enables one to accept things for what they are. With right view, there is no reaction. Sati is very stable leading to Samadhi at the moment of sense experience. This mind in Samadhi does not stir because it is collected and unwavering hence it can see things as they are. The enlightenment factor of upekkha (borne of wisdom) will enables one to accord and flow with conditions.  One will act accordingly without the stirring of the mind. It is not what people think.  There is no acting according to memory (which is not acting at all). One only act according to wisdom following Noble 8-fold path. The silent mind can see things as they are. Truth has no words or concepts. One must stabilize one’s cultivation to understand all these.

Bro Teoh stumbled upon the Avijja Sutta while preparing the write up for his website thereby enabling him to share it with us. He kept on emphasizing on Yoniso Manisakara and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. According to the Buddha, only after overcoming covetousness and grief can one really cultivate it. If we are still affected by these two mental states, we cannot cultivate the four foundations of mindfulness as yet. This is clearly explained in the Avijja Sutta.

(Above draft prepared by Puan Chee)

4 Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 11 Nov 2018     Finding silence?     (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh started the class with his sharing on “Finding Silence” basing on a daily quote by J. Krishnamurti.

Silence stated here is not the silence created by thoughts held in energy field or concentration but via a free mind, with no aggregates of mind or sankhara.

People usually want to learn how to meditate through a specific method and technique. However, all these methods and techniques are just various skilful means to train or anchor the mundane mind and they never define the meditation. They are just a series of instructions acting as a skilful mean to do something. To meditate, there must be the silence to understand ‘What Is’ or the reality of the moment in silence awareness without the interference of thought.

First, we must know, there are 2 minds, i.e. the mundane or thinking mind (which is dependent arising) and the true mind which is just silence (aware). To meditate is have this silence to develop the wisdom or understanding of the reality (truth) of life and existence.

The thinking mind (which is basically thoughts) will never understand truth (which is akaliko or beyond thought) because it is limited and it is a product of awareness.

What are thoughts? Thoughts are response to memory. Memory are acquired knowledge and experiences, things that we learn throughout our life. It includes the whole of our views, opinions, conditionings, accumulated fears, traditions, belief system, phobias and insecurities, etc.

  • Thought is limited. (Without thought we are naturally aware.)

Explanation: Initially, the true mind is just spacious awareness. When we think (use thoughts) we make mental contact thus arising the mental or thought consciousness, i.e. the spacious awareness narrows down or shrink into a limited space when we perceive something. Then, we input our content of consciousness via our accumulated memories (knowledge, views and opinions, perception, feeling and conditioning etc.) into this limited space to form the thought. Without wisdom, thought will be egoic and we will input deluded views into the limited space to arise the wrong thoughts which have the evil roots of greed, hatred and delusion making us evil and caused our karmic downfall. We need to understand the above deeply, so that when we meditate, we are most of the time with the spacious awareness and not loss in thought via our heedless thinking.

  • Thoughts divide through words (like race, gender, religion, dualities, etc.), concepts (concept of right and wrong, concept of superiority, etc.) and ideas (the various ideologies – spiritual, political, etc.) leading to misunderstanding, argument, war, enmity, etc.

(Note: Thought is limited and divide are very detrimental to our human psyche as they create suffering and misery via the 3 evil roots).

As thoughts are limited, they cannot understand spacious awareness which is beyond thoughts. Hence thought based meditation will not lead to awakening because thought is limited. When all these are understood, we will not believe the thoughts anymore. We will just silent the mundane mind and allow the silent mind to meditate and investigate. The mind will be still by itself.

Sometimes, we may perceive that we are quiet but this is really the thought that is telling us that we are quiet. The thought which experiences silence is not the true silence.

In real meditation, there is no one to know. Whatever that is thought-out is of lower intelligence.

Form or Matter is a product of thought (the mundane or thinking mind). Hence form is of lower intelligence than thought and because of that form cannot see thought but thought can see form. Likewise since thought is the product of spacious awareness; thought is of lower intelligence than awareness. So thought cannot see awareness but awareness can be aware of thought and its movements.

When anger arises, we think anger is us and we failed to see the truth about anger because we are not aware. If we are aware, we will be able to see anger as a separate entity which is dependent originating. Without your wrong view to stir the mind there will be no anger, hence anger is not you.

Mindfulness is silent awareness. This silence awareness will enable us to understand all these movements of thoughts and emotions caused by our self-delusion. When the conditions for its arising are no more, then anger ceases. We do not cease anger through suppression and control. What we need to do is to apply the first two of the 4 right efforts to abandon or prevent it from arising.

Stay with the anger. Do not label it (via straightening your views). Sati will then take over and then anger will cease when there is no more mental hindrance due to wrong view.

Next is to trace the origination factors as to how did anger arise? It is due to one’s lack of wise attention (yoniso manasikara) or right understanding at the moment of sense experience. Wise attention can only come about due to constant reflection and contemplation of the Buddha’s essential dharma to arise the 2nd turning wisdom of cintamaya panna. When we understand (after straightening our view), the defilement will cease to delude us then our mind will not stir to arise the anger.

Do not use the mundane mind to rationalize during meditation.

Absence of evil is good (one is automatically good if one is incapable of doing evil). Don’t try to be good. Good according to you may not be the actual good according to nature’s law of karma.

Does the Buddha exist after His Parinibbana? The Buddha we take refuge in is the embodiment of his wisdom and virtues (his nature’s 10 perfections). Therefore the Buddha’s nature will exist eternally in the universe. The thing that died is his segmented life’s form and mind or functional body of the Buddha at that time.

Sakyamuni Buddha was already an Arahant even during Dipankara Buddha’s time but due to his vows to save all beings, he kept coming back as a Bodhisattva to fulfill his vows until he became the Samma Sambuddha.

Walking the Bodhisattva Way is likened to a tertiary education. If you stop at primary education, you will not know what tertiary education entails.

Sister Eng Bee shares how she sought the help, blessings and protection of the Triple Gem and some great being’s nature to enable her to get back her voice to chant the Heart sutra at Anandagiri Hermitage kathina.

Faith in the Tripe Gem is very powerful. Faith is a spiritual faculty which will enable us to understand the spiritual teaching easily. Especially faith in the Buddha and his teaching via understanding how unique and special the Buddha and his teaching are.

Love yourself. Have humour, laughter and joy. But do not harm or hurt yourself via heedlessly arising the wrong thoughts to make yourself miserable. Don’t crave for pleasure via heedless attachment.

Check on what you are still lacking in your cultivation from the Avijja Sutra and diligently work on them.

Daily mindfulness must be stabilized before we can start on the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness cultivation otherwise we will be wasting our time if we try to practice the 4 Foundation of Mindfulness before the yoniso manasikara and daily mindfulness are established

We need to cultivate the 4 Right Efforts and all the other 7 Noble Eightfold Path factors to gain Enlightenment especially the 3 right views of karma, citta and dharma niyamas.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

3rd Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 28 Oct 2018     (Short Notes pdf)

Ref. book: Brother Teoh’s transcript book,Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way’, pages 21-29

Our thoughts always cling to the form and mind as we have been so conditioned since birth. I.e. we identify ourselves through our name, birth certificate, identity card, race, belief system, family status, gender etc. It is this egoic mind (borne of self-delusion or sakkayaditthi) that lead us to think that we are this form and mind when actually this form and mind or human being is just a karmically conditioned vehicle and tool for us to come to this existential world.

This human being which is the 5 aggregates of form and mind are subject to the nature’s law of karma and the universal characteristics of impermanent, suffering and non-self. That is it is not a permanent unchanging entity, hence it is non-self and not real – Empty nature of existence.

Our form and mind is connected to our karmic nature the moment we are conceived or born. Reason why the Buddha said, ‘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’. Our karmic nature is the summation of all our nature’s karmic actions (good and bad) over our entire eons of births and deaths (existences).

Not until our form and mind connects to our true nature we cannot inherit from our spiritually nature.

The form and mind has the gateway to our spiritual nature. Hence, we need this form and mind to develop the cultivation.

Sister Eng Bee asked why we are still not connected to our spiritual nature when we are able to experience the silence in meditation. Isn’t that our true mind? Brother explained that most of the time it is the thought that tells us that we are ‘without thought’. When there is really no thought, the mind aggregates cease. Sometimes we may experience glimpses of such cessation (no thoughts) but that is not stable enough for us to realize our true mind or true nature as yet.

Sister Eng Bee also asked whether when one connects to their true nature the experience is the same for everyone, i.e. melting of the yin and yang energies via the gateway located at the heart area. Brother Teoh answered yes. It is important to make the aspiration to connect fast (or early) to our true nature.

If our past lives cultivation has not been strong, the spiritual nature will also not be strong. Then we will need to have stronger faith, sincerity and perseverance to compensate for the spiritual gap.

Daily mindfulness is a must and it is the highest or real meditation. Brother Teoh strongly advise Kalyanamitta to study the Avijja Sutta and build affinity with Guan Yin’s nature via expressing our gratitude and thanks towards her nature.

When we take the Bodhisattva vows, we have nothing to lose but everything to gain. We can cultivate along the path of dhamma to realize arahantship also while walking this Bodhisattva way.

Avijja Sutta starts with: 1. having good Dharma friends —> 2. Listening to the Dharma, straighten your views leading to –> 3. Faith in the Triple Gem —> 4. Arising of yoniso manasikara (initial wisdom borne of 1st and 2nd turnings wisdom) —> 5. Daily mindfulness and clear comprehension cultivation —> 6. Senses restraint and cultivation of the 4 right efforts, leading to the —> 7. Three (3) ways of good conducts —> 8. Cultivate the 4 foundations of mindfulness —> 9. Seven (7) enlightenment factors keep arising —> 10. True knowledge, Enlightenment in the here and the now.

Cultivate virtue: generosity, sincerity, respect, gratitude, honesty, kindness, pleasantness, right & appropriate speeches leading to harmony and ability to rid people of fear etc. Act with understanding and wisdom instead of negativity.

The 5 stages of the Bodhi mind developments leading to the realization of Sammasam Buddhahood are:

Stage 1: Plant the seed of Bodhi deep into your nature’s consciousness to arise the Bodhi mind to walk the path of the Bodhisattva sincerely, with faith and perseverance via taking the 4 basic vows. The merits for this stage of Bodhi are limitless and most powerful as it can sets the conditions for us to be awakened. As our vows are being nurtured the Bodhi mind becomes active even during era where there is no Buddha Sasana.
Stage 2: Bodhi mind that subdues all vexation or suffering.                                                                                             Stage 3: Bodhi mind that illuminates the true nature. (This stage is the most joyous).                                        Stage 4: Bodhi mind that renounces samsara, i.e. time or duration in samsara is not a problem anymore as by then we would have understood the profound diamond sutra cultivation of no thought, no mark and no dwelling.  Cultivation and Perfection becomes easy after this.
Stage 5:  Bodhi mind that realizes the consummate of Sammasam Buddhahood.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

2nd Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way 14 Oct 2018     (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, pages 12-22

There are 5 stages of Bodhi mind development leading to Buddhahood.

The first stage is to plant the seed of Bodhi, i.e. to determine with strong faith and sincerity to plant the seed of Bodhi to arise the Bodhi mind to walk the Bodhisattva way to realize Buddhahood (in front of the Triple Gem).

Bodhisattva consists of two words, Bodhi means enlightened and Sattva refers to the living being. So a Bodhisattva is an Enlightened being walking the Bodhisattva way to realize Buddhahood.

There is a misunderstanding that one cannot be an Arahant if one has taken the Bodhisattva vow but that is not true because Arahant is part of the path before reaching the Bodhisattva level.

The Bodhisattva path is beyond the Arahant level, i.e. it is much more comprehensive and complete. The Arahant level is likened to a handful of leaves whereas the Bodhisattva path is likened to the leaves in the forest.

Not all who has taken the Bodhisattva vows will successfully complete the path.

After taking the Bodhisattva vows, our cultivation will be very clear and very different from the sainthood way because our faith and understanding of the cultivation/way are already very different. It will become more refined each time we come back in a form and mind to develop our cultivation to perfect both our spiritual and karmic natures. The path will be easier to walk with each subsequent life’s added experiences.

It is the form and mind which becomes enlightened but the form and mind is not you.

The 3 sets of pure precepts of the Bodhisattva are more elaborate aspects of the Buddha’s advice to avoid all evil,do good and purify the mind.

The form and mind need to connect to the spiritual nature before one can inherit from one’s spiritual nature to finally reach back to the previous level of our cultivation. From there, one will need to continue to cultivate from where we left off. If we have cultivated before, then we will be able to understand the Dharma very fast.

Buddha and Bodhisattva have 3 bodies:

  • 1st is the Nirmanakaya which is the functional body (form and mind) of this segmented life.  It arise from our Karmic nature.
  • 2nd is the Sambogayakaya which is the spiritual body –perfect of wisdom and virtue. It arise from our spiritual nature.
  • 3rd is the Dharmakaya or the dharma body which is the transformation body when the Nirmanakaya and the Sambogayakaya come together. The Dharmakaya is the dharma body that can teach the Dharma.

The Buddha and Bodhisattva have all these 3 bodies: the functional body, the spiritual body and the Dharma body.

The karmic nature and spiritual nature are stored in nature. After Buddhas passed away, they still exist and are ever present in nature. They do not need a form and mind to exist.

Daily mindfulness is a must to awaken to the truth unless one has cultivated in previous life before. Then that person can awakened by just hearing to the truth.

Sister Tammy asked how to overcome strong defilements/thoughts. Brother Teoh explained that experiences are accumulated and stored in the memory. Negative experiences (e.g. fearful and unhappy experiences) will result in wrong thoughts (recall things which are fearful and miserable). If we believe these thoughts, we will suffer. Thoughts are response to memory.

When one meditate following methods and techniques one is following a series of instructions to do the meditation; so one is actually using thoughts to meditate but enlightenment is to realize the dharma (or wisdom) which is beyond mind  and thoughts (akaliko).

Just relax and be aware and let whatever thoughts that arise settle down on itself until the natural state of the silent mind before the thinking or stirring returns/arise.

If in life, things agitate you, it means you don’t have wisdom as yet.

Abandon unwholesome thoughts through the 5 ways as taught by the Buddha, i.e. (1) Develop the direct opposite wholesome thoughts, (2) Think of the consequence of holding on to your wrong thoughts, (3) Just be aware, (4) Trace the originating factors and retrospectively reverse it via wisdom (after straightening one’s view). (5) Determine with torque against your palate to abandon it using your will power. The 3rd and 4th ways are the most effective and is also the meditative and wisdom way.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)

1st Cultivating The Bodhisattva Way 7 Oct 2018     (Short Notes pdf)

Brother Teoh’s transcript book: Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way (pages 1-12).

Brother Teoh gave a very good briefing on his transcript book, “Cultivating the Bodhisattva Way”. Brother Teoh also explained the uniqueness and importance of this transcript book.

There are 2 types of natures to be cultivated by all dharma practitioners; one’s karmic nature and spiritual nature.

Our ‘form and mind’ is dependent originating, i.e. it depends on its karmic nature’s karmic force to exist and it is just a ‘tool’ and ‘vehicle’ for us to come to this existential world to live and experience life. It can also be used to develop our cultivation and spiritual nature. This form and mind is not us because it is impermanent, lead to suffering when we lack wisdom. Meaning it is not a permanent unchanging entity that we can call the ‘I’ and the ‘Me’ hence it is non-self and not real (empty nature of existence).

One can only inherited from one’s spiritual nature (summation of all our past perfections) after one’s form and mind had connected to one’s true nature. Wisdom is required to develop our karmic nature and spiritual nature.

At death, the wisdom connected to the form and mind will also cease and is not inherited by the next segmented form and mind that arise. However, the next segmented form and mind is born of its karma, heir to its karma, conditioned and supported by its karma and it is what it is because of its karma. So it is important that we take care of karma to build up our karmic nature so that our future comings are all taken care off. If one’s karma nature is not strong and there is no Buddha Sasana during that time when one arise, chances are one will not encounter the Buddha dhamma then one might get lost again and commit many mistakes leading to further fall of their karmic nature.

When the Buddha Sasana arises again, our parami may enable us to come again to receive such teaching but we will first have to face some of the karma obstructions that we had accumulated in previous lives when we were heedless during the non-sasana periods.

The Bodhisattva vows and special aspirations as taught by my nature is to help you all arise the strong causes and conditions for you all to retain the understanding of some of the important essential dharma needed for you all to continue the correct cultivation during periods when there is no Buddha Sasana so that your karmic nature will not fall or cause obstructions to your cultivation in future lives especially the next sasana.

The rebirth of a normal unenlightened living being is via his last thought moment’s ignorance (avijja) that will enable them to be reborn with another form and mind.

After an Arahant passed away, he will not be reborn as he has no more avijja to condition rebirth – so there will be no more future form and mind for them to come back to the existential world. But if he/she knows how to take the Bodhisattva vows then they can still come back with a pure consciousness filled with love and compassion – borne of their great 1st Bodhisattva vow to liberate the infinite living beings of this universe from samsara.

A Bodhisattva does not rely on an avijja (ignorant) death consciousness to return in another form and mind. A Bodhisattva comes back through another form and mind via a pure consciousness filled with only love and compassion.

A Bodhisattva still needs to perfect his cultivation until he realizes the stages of Samma SamBuddhahood.

Brother Teoh also talks about his – myKalyanamitta website where all the audio files, outline short notes and white board writings of all his talks are published. This website is very important and it has a great wealth of Dharma materials/Gems that can lead kalyanamittas to great awakening.

According to the Buddha having true kalyanamitta (dharma friends) is a prerequisite for enlightenment.

Need to invoke the power of merits to walk this way and sharpen our 5 spiritual faculties to arise the factors of enlightenment needed for awakening.

Special pujas mentioned in the sharing are all funded by our kalyanamitta fund so that all kalyanamittas get to partake in such wholesomeness.

Walking the Bodhisattva way is not difficult (for those who understand) because if we sincerely pay our respect, express our gratitude and recite the Buddha/Bodhisattva’s name/mantra to all these great beings with faith, we will cultivate strong affinity with them. Then due to their great vows and great Natures, they can guide, blessing and protect us as per our aspirations. We only need to have faith, sincerity and perseverance to walk this way.

All great beings (Buddhas and Bodhisattvas) have their own eternal natures which are very extensive and great. Therefore always request for their guidance (to walk the way), protection (for our segmented from and mind which is very fragile and vulnerable) and blessings (for good conditions to walk this way) from all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Thank their nature by paying our respect, expressing gratitude and rejoicing.

The special vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas work through nature’s law. The moment we request with faith and understanding, their natures will bless, protection and guide us via nature’s law.

The meaning of taking refuge: i) Taking refuge under the Theravada tradition means to take refuge with all Buddhas and Ariyas of the 3 periods of time; ii) To cultivate affinity with the Triple Gem.

The first stage of Bodhi mind development is to plant the seed of Bodhi, to arise the Bodhi mind needed to make the firm resolve to walk this way sincerely to fulfil the 4 basis vows of a Bodhisattva.

Sister Mun Yuen shared her experiences in Wat Marp Jan.

Question by Sister Angie on how to explain Buddhism in a simple way. Brother Teoh replied that understanding the 4 Noble Truths is the simplest summary. For more specific details please do listen to the rather good sharing given by brother Teoh.

Using thoughts to resolve problem without understanding is reasoning via delusion and selfishness.

(Above draft prepared by Sister Mun Yuen)