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โพสที่ยังไม่ได้อ่าน เมื่อ: 08 ก.พ. 2018, 10:42 
 
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Inaugural Teachings to Start the
Vipassana Project

รูปภาพ

Pra arjan Praserith Thanangkaro


Dhamma blessings to all practitioners who are
interested in the practice of meditation. May you all
progress and flourish in dhamma. This is the first time
that I have come here to meet practitioners who are
interested in the practice of vipassana, to find ways to
end sufferings. I consider this to be a good opportunity.

Firstly, let us understand or review the method of
vipassana. Sit in a relaxed manner, listen in a relaxed
manner. All of us here have practiced meditation before
and therefore do have some foundation. Hence, let us
briefly review.

The practice of vipassana has one important
objective and that is to be mindful of the conscious
phenomena (Translator's note : Such as sound, light,
thoughts). To be in the present, in order to be aware of
all the conscious phenomena that occur. The four major
conscious phenomena that we understand are: (1) the
observation of the physical self, (2) the observation
of sensation, (3) the observation of the mind, and
(4) the observation of dhamma. These are the four
major conscious phenomena that occur as we practice
vipassana. As these conscious phenomena occur,
whichever that is the most apparent to the mind, that is
the present conscious phenomenon.

For example, when we close our eyes to wilfully
contemplate the inflate-deflate phenomenon—the
inflation of the stomach as we inhale and the deflation
of the stomach as we exhale. At that moment, the
inflate-deflate phenomenon is the clearest, therefore
the present conscious phenomenon is inflate-deflate. If
we sit and the inflate-deflate phenomenon of our stomach
is not clear but, rather, we feel some throbbing around
the chest area, then that is where we should contemplate
the present conscious phenomenon. This is part of the
observation of the physical self. When we practice
vipassana, another present phenomenon that often occurs
is sensation. When we sit and sensation occurs—no
matter where it is in our body—if the sensation is more
apparent than the inflate-deflate phenomenon, then the
present conscious phenomenon is sensation. This is the
phenomenon that we must wilfully contemplate.

In addition to the sensation, thoughts are a
common conscious phenomenon that could occur. As
we sit down to practice vipassana, we are bombarded
by numerous thoughts. Breathing and the inflate-deflate
phenomenon is not clear; sensation is not present; the only
thing that dominates is our thoughts. At that moment,
thoughts are our present conscious phenomenon. This
is what we call “observing the mind”. When observing
the mind, it is important to; firstly, be aware of what
we are thinking and; secondly, be aware of the impact
that these thoughts have on our state of mind. Do we
feel peaceful, unburdened, uncluttered, light, neutral, or
happy? These are all characteristics of the mind.

In a more refined sense, even the mind that acts
as the consciousness is itself a type of natural conditions.
We must wilfully contemplate whether the
mind acts as the consciousness or the awareness acts
as the consciousness. And, what kind of conscious
phenomenon do they have? Are there any changes?
Is there any emergence-cessation phenomenon? This
is the observation of the mind. Firstly, know what our
thoughts are. Secondly, know what our state of the mind
is. Thirdly, even the mind that acts as the consciousness,
we must know whether it has any emergence-cessation
phenomenon.

Fourthly, when we practice vipassana, what are
the natural conditions that emerge? When we practice
vipassana, whatever natural conditions that emerge—
whether they are the inflate-deflate phenomenon,
sensation or thoughts—they all occur for us to experience.
They are really the present conscious phenomenon.
When the emergence-cessation phenomenon occurs that
consists of the throbbing phenomenon, or the phenomenon
of total shattering, or the arising of light—these are
all opportunities. All conscious phenomena that we
experience could all be natural conditions. To conclude:
Natural conditions are the conscious phenomena of the
physical and mental (phenomena).

Now, when we wilfully contemplate the current
conscious phenomenon, what exactly do we need to
contemplate: The inflate-deflate phenomenon; the
sensation phenomenon; or the thoughts phenomenon?
What we really need to contemplate is the emergence-cessation
of all physical and mental phenomena that
occur. Contemplate the emergence-cessation of the
inflate-deflate phenomenon. Contemplate the emergence-cessation
of the sensation phenomenon. Contemplate
the emergence-cessation of the thoughts phenomenon.
To wilfully contemplate the emergence-cessation of
the natural conditions that occur before us is called “to
wilfully contemplate the phenomenon of trilaksana (The
Three Characteristics of Being) that is: Emergence,
existence, and cessation.

Therefore, when we wilfully contemplate a
conscious phenomenon, we must have the intention to
know how the phenomenon occurs and how it ceases. For
example, when we wilfully contemplate our breathing
or the inflate-deflate phenomenon, we should notice
that when we breathe in and our stomach inflates, does
it stop first before it deflates? And, once the stomach
deflates fully, does it stop first before it inflates? And,
we can contemplate in an even more refined sense:
When the stomach inflates, does it have a linear form
or a wave-like form? Or, does it inflate at intervals
(Translator’s note: Rather than continuously). We must
have the intention to contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon. This is how we can train our awareness to
be in the present, continuously.

One additional thing that we must observe is
how the inflate-deflate phenomenon changes. Does
it change in the same way or does it always change
differently—sometimes faster, sometimes slower? This
is to contemplate impermanence. To contemplate the
emergence, existence, and cessation—rather than just
observe inflate then deflate, deflate then inflate. This
is the same with the sensation phenomenon. When
sensation emerges, we must wilfully contemplate what
the phenomenon of that sensation is, not just whether the
pain is intense or mild. (Translator’s note: In the case
that the sensation is pain). What we need to contemplate
is how that sensation phenomenon changes. These are
the major conscious phenomena that we must wilfully
contemplate.

We now know that when we practice vipassana,
what conscious phenomenon is the most apparent to
us. This differs from person to person, and differs each
time we practice vipassana. For some, the inflate-deflate
phenomenon is apparent. For others, the thoughts
phenomenon comes first. This shows that the conscious
phenomenon for each person, at different moments, may
not be the same. We may observe that every time we
practice vipassana, during each meditation session, the
beginning of the natural conditions may not always be
the inflate-deflate phenomenon. Sometimes, as we close
our eyes, thoughts come first. Sometimes, as we close our
eyes, the inflate-deflate phenomenon comes first. After
a short while, sensation emerges, as the inflate-deflate
phenomenon becomes less clear. These are also natural
conditions that occur.

Therefore, practitioners must observe their
own natural conditions. Currently, what conscious
phenomenon is most apparent to us? This is how we
maintain our awareness in the present. We should not try
to select specific conscious phenomenon. For example,
every time we practice vipassana, we may try to observe
only the inflate-deflate phenomenon but, in reality, the
thoughts phenomenon is more apparent. This will lead
to the presence of two phenomena. When this happens,
observe that whichever phenomenon is more powerful,
the mind will move to contemplate that phenomenon.
That is our present conscious phenomenon.

Therefore, when we say we should be aware of the
present conscious phenomenon, we must first know what
our present conscious phenomenon is. For example, if the
thoughts phenomenon is more powerful, our mind will be
aware of the thoughts phenomenon. Hence, the thoughts
phenomenon is our present conscious phenomenon.
In that case, one should use the awareness to wilfully
contemplate the emergence-existence-cessation of that
thoughts phenomenon. This kind of contemplation
requires intention. This is not to force the phenomenon to
cease or to force ourselves not to think. Rather, we should
contemplate how the thoughts phenomenon ceases, and
in what way? Does it fade away, or vanish, or shatter?
This is what we mean by wilfully contemplating the
existence-cessation of the thoughts phenomenon.

Furthermore, contemplation is not confined to just
sitting. There are four major bodily movements: Stand,
walk, sit, and lie-down. We should have the awareness
to wilfully contemplate during every bodily movement.
When we stand, what do we contemplate on? When we
walk, what do we contemplate on? When we sit, what
do we contemplate on? When we lie-down, this is no
different from when we sit, because it is a stationary
bodily movement. Standing is also no different from
sitting, as we remain still.

Walking is a dynamic movement therefore when
we move our foot—be it right or left, we must maintain
our awareness in the present, as much as possible. We
may use borikam words, or not (Translator’s note:
Borikam words can be uttered during meditation to keep
the mind focused). Alternatively, we could just focus on
the bodily movements—to attach our awareness to the
movement. To be clearly aware of stepping our right
foot forward, to be clearly aware of stepping our left
foot forward. At the same time, we should observe what
the conscious phenomenon of each movement is. Does
it move smoothly in a linear pattern, or does it move
at intervals with accompanying emergence-cessation
phenomenon. This is the way to observe emergence-cessation
while we practice walking meditation.

If you have any questions about meditation, please
ask in order to fully understand the way. During these
seven days, you will relate your natural conditions and
communicate the results of your vipassana practice. If
you have any questions about your natural conditions,
please ask. Each person's natural conditions are not the
same and each person's awareness and concentration
are not equal. Therefore, do not pay too much attention
to others’ natural conditions, focus on your own. If you
have any questions, please ask.

In addition to contemplating the emergence-cessation
of conscious phenomena, what is another goal
of our vipassana practice? It is to extinguish sufferings,
to unburden our mind, to be happy and, ultimately, to
attain nibbana. Therefore, when we practice vipassana—
whether during our major or minor bodily movements—
we should be earnest and really have the intention to
contemplate. Even if we practice earnestly for a brief
period, the resulting natural conditions that emerge could
be of great significance.



:b8: :b8: :b8: copy from http://www.mtt4.com/phpbb2/viewforum.ph ... bcab9f96e2


แก้ไขล่าสุดโดย อภิสิทธิ์ ภู่ภักดี เมื่อ 17 พ.ค. 2018, 10:54, แก้ไขแล้ว 2 ครั้ง.

โพสที่ยังไม่ได้อ่าน เมื่อ: 09 ก.พ. 2018, 08:36 
 
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Kiss
:b8: :b8: :b8:


โพสที่ยังไม่ได้อ่าน เมื่อ: 26 ก.พ. 2018, 16:37 
 
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EP.2 Wilful Contemplation

Sometimes when we practice vipassana, we
are not sure which conscious phenomenon we should
contemplate. For example, when we contemplate our
breathing, do we focus on the inflate-deflate phenomenon
in our stomach? Actually, when we contemplate our
breathing, we cannot just observe breathe in-breathe
out phenomenon. Rather, we should also observe the
inflate-deflate phenomenon. For some of us, when we
breathe, the inflate-deflate phenomenon is not clear
but breathe in-breathe out phenomenon is. Therefore,
in that case, we should observe breathe in-breathe out
phenomenon. This is why we should observe both
breathe in-breathe out phenomenon as well as the inflate-deflate
phenomenon. However, this method is not for
everyone. For some of us, if we could contemplate
breathe in-breathe out phenomenon easily, then we
should contemplate that. But, if we could contemplate
the inflate-deflate phenomenon well, then we should
focus on that. As mentioned before, the present conscious
phenomenon for each person is not the same. When
we practice vipassana, as we sit down and close our
eyes, if the inflate-deflate phenomenon appears clearly,
then we should contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon. But, for some of us, as we close our eyes,
the heartbeat is clear, then, we should contemplate that
phenomenon. For some of us, as we close our eyes, our
thoughts appear and they are stronger than the inflate-deflate
phenomenon. In that case, our present conscious
phenomenon is our thoughts. And, we should contemplate
the emergence-cessation of our thoughts. Why? This is
because that is our present conscious phenomenon.

If we try to reject our present conscious phenomenon
and try to seek the phenomenon that has not yet emerged,
then our mind is no longer in the present. We would
become agitated as we feel that we lack concentration.
We cannot contemplate the inflate – deflate phenomenon,
as our thoughts consistently interrupt. In this case,
our thoughts are our present conscious phenomenon.
That is, our present conscious phenomenon interrupts
the conscious phenomenon that has not yet emerged.
That is why we should contemplate the most present
conscious phenomenon. But, in any case, if we are adept
at contemplating the inflate – deflate phenomenon, then
we can contemplate that.

When we wilfully contemplate the conscious
phenomenon, whether we contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, the breathing phenomenon, the
thoughts phenomenon, or the sensation phenomenon.
If we can, we should contemplate with “non-self”—or,
without the feeling of “us”. Instead, we only use our
awareness to contemplate. Notice that when we wilfully
contemplate any conscious phenomenon such as the
inflate-deflate phenomenon, or even when we practice
walking meditation, we will have the feeling of “us” as the
observer. “We” are the entity that wilfully contemplates
that conscious phenomenon. This is what we mean by
contemplating with a sense of “self”. This feeling of self
is a conventional reality (banyat).

If we contemplate with a feeling of “non-self” or
we contemplate with an unburdened mind, the fabrication
does not occur and we contemplate with a genuine
reality. The conscious phenomenon that emerges—be
it the inflate-deflate phenomenon or the emergen-cecessation
phenomenon—will be clear. As mentioned
before, we should attach our awareness to the conscious
phenomenon. For example, as we move our hand, if
we attach our awareness to that phenomenon, then we
can really contemplate the present. We are not just
an observer, and our awareness is clearly part of the
conscious phenomenon. How do we attain “non-self”?
Have we ever seen our “non-self”? If our answer is
“never”, this is not wrong. In dhamma, there is no wrong.
We are here to learn and we have not yet succeeded.
Therefore, do not be afraid of being wrong. If we do
not know what we are doing is wrong, then we would
continue to be wrong. But, if we know what we are doing
is wrong, then we could easily correct this.

Practicing vipassana is similar to doing research.
That is why it is called “Dhamma Vijaya” (Dhamma
Investigation). For example, why do we contemplate
the inflate-deflate phenomenon? We do it to study,
research and understand in order to see the true reality
of the physical and mental phenomena. When we say
that the physical and mental phenomena consistently
emerge and cease—how do they emerge and cease? We
always hear that the physical and mental phenomena are
impermanent. They consistently emerge, exist, and cease.
But, how do they cease? This is important. As long as
we do not see that the physical and mental phenomena
emerge and cease, we will continue to believe that they
belong to “us”. They never belong to other people, right?
When we are in pain, it is “our” pain. When we ache,
it is “our” ache. Never do we consider that these aches
and pains are just natural conditions.

How do we unburden our mind or extinguish
the feeling of “self”? Do we know how to separate the
physical and mental phenomenon? What is the physical
phenomenon and what is the mental phenomenon?
Anyone is unclear on how to do this? The characteristics
of the physical phenomenon or the mental phenomenon
emerge within us every day. However, we simply are not
aware of these characteristics or do not understand them.
Right now, what is the feeling in our mind: Heavy, light,
uncluttered, or peaceful? Do we feel neutral? Do we feel
comfortable? These are all characteristics of the mind.

Can the mind that is comfortable be shifted? Yes,
this is the nature of the mind—it can be shifted. By its
nature, whatever the mind wants to experience, it will
go there. For example, when I raise this book, as you
see it, where is your mind? It is at the book, correct?
Your mind is no longer in your body. Do you see that
the mind can leave the body in an instance? This is the
nature of human beings, of living things. Is it wrong
that the mind leaves the body? No, because it is the
nature of things. The only thing that is important is
whether the mind that moves out to experience things
is a wholesome mind or an unwholesome one. Every
time that we experience anything, observe whether our
mind moves there immediately. When we think of home,
our mind goes home in an instance. The mind travels
instantaneously—whether the distance is long or short,
it takes exactly the same amount of time.

Now let us try this: Move your mind into an empty
space just in front of you. Not too far away, as you may
lose it—perhaps just one arm’s length. Observe how
this mind that is located in the empty space, feel. Does it
feel heavy, light, clear, uncluttered, cramped, or unburdened?
It feels light? If it feels light, observe further
whether this lightness can be shifted. Yes? That is correct.
Try to shift the lightness to your arm. How does the arm
feel? Does it feel heavy or light? Shift this lightness to
your brain. How does it feel? We are not talking about
the shape of the brain. If we look for the shape of the
brain, then we are observing the physical phenomenon.
How do you feel? Clear? Correct.

When we move our mind that is light, we are shifting
our awareness. Therefore, when we wilfully contemplate
the conscious phenomenon, we can see clearly that our
awareness is right where the phenomenon is. However,
the observer is in another place. Just now, when the arm
felt heavy—it was because the mind has not shifted to
arm, but remained an observer of the arm. When we shift
our mind to the brain, we are not just observing the shape
of the brain. Our mind, which is light, moves right into
the brain. The brain will feel uncluttered and light.

Now, expand this mind that is light to be as big as
this area, as big as this room. How do you feel? Does it
feel uncluttered? Observe this uncluttered mind—does it
feel unburdened? Yes. Observe whether this uncluttered,
unburdened mind and the body that sits here—are they
one, or separate? Yes, they are separate. Which entity
is bigger? Yes, the mind is bigger. This is what we call
separating the physical and mental phenomena. Your
mind is a mental phenomenon and your body is a physical
phenomenon. A mind that is light can experience all the
conscious phenomena.

Now, observe further—does the unburdened
mind claim itself to be any one? Or, does it only feel
unburdened and light? This unburdened and light feeling
does not declare itself to be anyone, does not declare
itself to be “us”. This is “non-self” (anatta). While the
unburdened and light mind does not declare itself to be
“us”, when we observe back to our physical body, does
it feel heavy or light? (A practitioner answers: Heavy).
Observe that when we feel heavy, is our mind inside
or outside our body? It is inside.

Now, if we keep the mind outside, in front of our
body—how do we feel? (A practitioner answers: Heavy).
When the mind is outside? When we feel heavy, is the
mind inside or outside the body? (A practitioner answers:
Outside). While the mind is outside the body, what are
we thinking about? Other things, correct? This is what we
call “the mind moves to the outside” while the thoughts
are still present. We cannot see the mind outside of our
body, we merely think that the mind is wandering. We
are thinking: “We see our thoughts, but we do not see our
mind outside of our body”. In a more refined sense—if
we make the mind uncluttered and bigger than our body,
and let this enlarged mind fully encompass our body, how
does it feel? (A practitioner answers: Cool and light).
Yes, we can feel it immediately—this is the real feeling.
This is what we call “experiencing with non-self”.

Therefore, when we wilfully contemplate all the
conscious phenomena, we do it the same way. We take
the feeling, or the mind, that is light and move it to
the conscious phenomenon. When we contemplate the
inflate-deflate phenomenon, we take the mind that is
light and move it there to observe the phenomenon.
How do we feel? Does the inflate-deflate phenomenon
become more apparent? Yes, more apparent. This is
because our awareness is powerful. A mind that is
unburdened will lead to an awareness that is powerful,
and the conscious phenomenon will become more
apparent. Therefore, when we contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, contemplate with “non-self”. How
does it emerge and cease? How does it change? Use the
mind that is unburdened to contemplate the conscious
phenomenon that occurs—even when the sensation
phenomenon emerges.

When we sit, we can shift the mind that is
unburdened, correct? Now, try to move this unburdened
mind to support the point of impact—between your body
and the seat cushion, or between your body and the floor.
Do you feel heavy or light? (A practitioner answers:
Light). This means we can sit without discomfort. Every
time we sit down and practice vipassana, move the
lightness to be the support. In that way, we shall sit in
an empty and light space—not only on the floor, not just
on the seat cushion. How does the point of stress feel?
Elevated? The feeling of stress will ease. As the feeling
of stress eases, the sensation phenomenon (Translator’s
note: Pain in this case) would emerge more slowly.

Does it feel good to sit in an elevated manner? Yes?
Actually, we do not just aim to sit in an elevated and light
manner. Rather, our intention is to use an unburdened
mind to experience the conscious phenomenon. When we
sit, we sit in an empty space. When we walk, we use the
light and unburdened mind to encompass our body and
attach it to the walking movement. We do all this so that
we could experience all phenomena with “non-self”—
without fabrication and without unwholesomeness. We
do not fabricate likes and dislikes but we are aware of
what is good and what is bad; heavy or light; discontented,
neutral, or heavy. But, not likes or dislikes. Likes or
dislikes lead to defilements. But, to know good or bad,
heavy or light, discontent or neutral—these all arise from
our discriminative wisdom (panya).

We practice vipassana in order to extinguish our
suffering (dukkha), correct? Therefore, observe what
causes this suffering. This is easy to experiment. Just
now, without the feeling of “self”, how do we feel?
(A practitioner answers: Light). When we feel light,
unburdened and comfortable, try injecting the feeling
of “self”—how do we feel? Suddenly heavy, correct?
This is a habit—a habit of claiming this body to be ours.
When we have this “self”, the heaviness will appear.
Remove the feeling of “self” from our body and we
will immediately feel light. This is how we detach from
“self” (atta). This is not difficult; we just need to know
how.

We do not simply deny that the body does not
belong to us. As long as we do not see the separation, our
feeling will remain heavy and burdened. But, whenever
we see clearly that the physical and mental phenomena
are separate, and we can detach the mental phenomenon
from the physical phenomenon, then our mind would
be free automatically. This is an automatic detachment.
We do not need to say “we will not hold on, we will not
take”. Even without that thought, our mind would still
be unburdened. This is the discriminative wisdom that
arises from our wilful contemplation of reality.

The Buddha said that the five khandha (Translator’s
note: The five components of human physical and mental
existence) can be narrowed down to just the physical and
mental phenomena—that is the body and the mind. But,
the body and the mind are also separate. Nothing within
them declares themselves be “us”. The body does not
claim to be “us”. The unburdened mind does not show
itself to be “us”. So what remains? This is how we detach
from “self”, or to extinguish the feeling of “we”, or to
enter the state of “non-self” (anatta). Anatta in this sense
is that there are no animals, humans, we or they. There
is only the natural presence of the physical and mental
phenomena that emerge and exist, as dictated by causes
and conditions.

Just now, we see the separation of the unburdened
mind and the physical body. How about when we
think about certain things—do mental images appear?
Sometimes—but they always contain mental tastes,
correct? For example, when we think about things that
upset us, how do we feel? (A practitioner answers:
Discontented) Do we feel heavy or light? Now, we know
that is suffering. What remains is how to extinguish it.

The Buddha talked about suffering, causes of
suffering, and methods to extinguish suffering. Why
do we feel suffering? It is because of attachment. Who
attaches? We do. As mentioned just now—we need
to extinguish the “self”. This means that the cause of
suffering is “self”, correct? We are not aware that the Five
Khandhas (the Five Aggregates) occur according to their
causes and conditions. But, whenever we inject “self”
into them—be it, rupa (corporeality), vedana (sensation),
sanna (perception), sankhara (mental formations), and
vinnana (consciousness)the mind is saddened , and
suffering emerges.

Now, try removing the feeling of “us” and, then,
think about that same thought. Expand the unburdened
mind to be bigger than the thought. How does the mind
feel? It feels light, correct? It is alright to have thoughts,
but do it with an unburdened mind—unburdened from
“self”—not from thoughts. When we are unburdened by
the feeling of “self”, even when we have thoughts, we do
not suffer. This is discriminative wisdom. It is not that
when the mind is unburdened, we cannot have thoughts.
Without thoughts we cannot do anything, correct? Before
we speak, before we pick up things, before we touch, or
before we move—they all require sankhara or mental
formations. We think about what we will do; do it for
what purpose; and whether the end results are good or
bad. They are all “sankhara”. The question is whether
these sankhara consist of “self”. Do they consist of a
greedy mind (lobha citta), an angry mind (dosa citta),
or a deluded mind (moha citta)?

With an unburdened mind that is free of “self”,
what kind of unwholesomeness can occur? No
unwholesomeness can occur. Without “us”, greed cannot
emerge, anger cannot emerge, and delusion cannot emerge.
Why? Because when we see that there is no “us”, that is
discriminative wisdom. It is the ability to see reality—this
is what we call “correct perception” (samma-ditthi). Their
natural conditions are as we perceive, not as we imagine.
Seeing the reality of the physical and mental phenomena
could be done via any of the six sensory passages: Eyes,
ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Another reality that
we try to contemplate is that all natural phenomena are
impermanent. They emerge, exist, and cease all the time.
They do not belong to anyone. Even our own physical
and mental phenomena are consistently changing as
per their causes and conditions. And, they consistently
emerge and cease.

Observe that the body and the mind are separate.
The unburdened mind and the thoughts—are they one
of the same, or separate? Yes, separate. This is the
separation of one mental phenomenon from another. This
is an important aspect of vipassana: We need to separate
the physical phenomena from the mental phenomena
before we could separate one physical phenomenon from
another physical phenomenon. When we contemplate the
emergence-cessation of the inflate-deflate phenomenon,
we observe whether there are spaces or intervals
between each emergence-cessation process. Are there
any space between inflate and deflate, or are there any
space between inflate and inflate itself. We also observe
whether the emergence-cessation phenomenon occurs at
regular intervals. This is called “experiencing the physical
body within the physical body”.

“Experiencing the mind within the mind”: This
is when we observe that our mind is light, our mind
is unburdened. We know what the mind is thinking.
Experiencing the mind within the mind involves: One,
know what the mind is thinking; two, observe the state
of the mind. How does our mind feel? Heavy, light,
uncluttered, clear, happy, soft, gentle, or refreshed. These
are all characteristics of the mind. In addition to knowing
what the mind is thinking, we are also aware that the
thinking mind and thoughts are separate. The thinking
mind here is called “the mind that experiences” (vinnana
ru). Sati (awareness) and vinnana (mind) are the same—
the mind experiences and the awareness cautions.

Therefore, when we practice vipassana, we are
required to be clearly aware of all the phenomena that
emerge and exist. If we wilfully contemplate without
“self”, we will only have the mind that is clearly
aware of the conscious phenomena that occur. Then,
we can observe how our vipassana practice or our
natural conditions will change. For those who were not
certain of how to contemplate the emergence-cessation
phenomenon, hopefully this is now clear. As mentioned
before, a person who can contemplate the emergen-cecessation
phenomenon needs to have discriminative
wisdom. If one asks: What is the point of contemplating
the emergence-cessation phenomenon? The answer is
that it will result in discriminative wisdom. The wisdom
to know the reality of the Five Aggregates (khandhas)—
that they are not permanent. Hence, we should not attach
ourselves to them and we should not consider them to be
part of “us” or to be “ours”.

Just now, we mentioned that when we think about
upsetting things, how do we feel? We feel burdened—
why? This is because we have “self”. When we remove
the feeling of “self”, suffering is gone. This shows
that this is the way to extinguish suffering. The way is
not to extinguish the things that upset us. Rather, we
must extinguish suffering first, then, we can extinguish
the things that upset us later. Whenever a conscious
phenomenon emerges and causes our mind to suffer, the
first thing that we must do is to extinguish that suffering.
Once suffering is extinguished, our mind is unburdened,
our mind is more peaceful. Wisdom has emerged.

When we are suffering, if we try to contemplate,
we will find that our mind is too mixed up with that
conscious phenomenon. And, we will not be able to find
a way out. Why? This is because we are overwhelmed
by suffering. If we are hit by an arrow, should we find
the archer first? If we try to find the archer first, even
the slightest shift of the arrow would be very painful.
Instead, we should remove the arrow first, and tend to
the wound until it is healed. Then, it is still not too late
to find the archer.

Therefore, the extinguishment of suffering is
important. When a conscious phenomenon hits, we
must first extinguish the suffering. How do we do
it? The easiest way is to “remove”. Remove what?
Remove the feeling of “self” from our body. Then, the
suffering will ease or cease completely. In reality, are our
sufferings always caused by immediate problems? No.
Sometimes, sufferings are caused by our recollections of
past problems. As we think about them, we suffer and
cry. When we experience suffering, we feel cramped—
correct? We feel heavy, as though the weight of the world
is on our shoulders.

Now, think of the issue that causes us suffering.
How do we feel? Do we feel heavy? As mentioned just
now, we must remove the feeling of “self”. Now, try to
expand this feeling of “self”. It will feel like a heavy lump
around our heart, correct? It will feel tight here. Now let
it expand so that it is bigger than our body and continue
to expand without boundaries. How do we feel? Expand
this feeling of heaviness. We are not expanding the issue
that causes the heaviness. Rather, we are expanding the
feeling of heaviness. As the feeling of heaviness expands,
it will gradually fade and eventually disappear. This is
an easy way to extinguish suffering. Why?

Whenever our mind is expanded, it is unburdened,
without “self”. When we have no feeling of “self” and
our mind is unburdened—by nature, nothing can exist
in an empty space and must fade away and cease. The
reason why anything can exist is because there is a
receiver—“we” are the receiver. Hence, this is the easiest
way to extinguish suffering. But, it depends on how often
we practice it. When we practice vipassana and we think
about this and that issue—and they feel heavy—try to
expand the feeling and see whether it disappears. Practice
this until we gain expertise. Every time suffering emerges,
immediately extinguish it. Do this until we gain expertise
(wasi).

Note that what we are doing is not to neglect
suffering. What we are doing is to be fully aware of how
suffering emerges and how to extinguish it. If we simply
neglect the issues that cause suffering, the issues would
accumulate and become more complicated, until we do
not know how to resolve them. How do we resolve the
problem? Extinguish the feeling of “self” and step back to
perceive the problem. Now, try it. Think of the issue that
causes suffering—then move it in front of our physical
body. Next, expand our mind to be bigger than the issue
and act as the “observer”. Do we feel that the issue is big
or small? It is tiny. We are the one who expand the issue
so that it becomes so big that it encompasses us. That is
why it becomes heavy and important.

What I am teaching here, if you could do it, it
would be for your own benefits—the practitioners’
benefit, not mine. Therefore, I would like you to use
it often, to practice until you gain expertise and can
extinguish suffering. This is because we practice
vipassana in order to extinguish suffering, even for a brief
moment called “dta-tang-kha”. Even this brief moment
of suffering extinguishment is already very good. The
next step is to consistently cultivate mindfulness in order
to permanently extinguish suffering. In order to do
that, we must practice intensely—to be mindful all the
time—regardless of whether we are standing, walking,
sitting, eating, drinking, doing, speaking, or thinking. Be
wilfully aware of all bodily movements.

The most important thing is that we experience
with a feeling of “non-self”, no matter what kind of
bodily movements: Standing, walking, sitting, lying
down, eating, brushing teeth, or showering. Try it, use
the mind that is unburdened and light to experience
all phenomena. How does it feel? Good? Is there any
defilement that emerges? Consistently observe our own
mind—observe the physical phenomenon, observe the
mental phenomenon, observe the movements—see what
the condition of our mind is.

When we practice vipassana, when we experience
the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena—be it the inflate-deflate phenomenon, the
sensation phenomenon, the thoughts phenomenon—the
end results always impact our mind. When we wilfully
contemplate the inflate-deflate phenomenon and we see
how it changes—what is the condition of our mind? Is
our mind more alert? Is it purer? Is it more peaceful? Is
it calmer? Here, we can be immediately aware without
having to think or be forced to. We only need to observe
and wilfully contemplate. The end results impact our
mind. When we talk about discarding defilement—it is
the defilement of the mind, not the body.

Our body is dictated by our mind. Hence, it is
important what kind of mind it is that has enough power
to dictate our body. Is the wholesome mind dominant,
or the unwholesome mind? In other words—is the mind
good or wicked? A wicked mind can drive us and spur
us. The way that it can drive our body is when the mind
fully experiences that conscious phenomenon until it can
experience no more—so the phenomenon appears via our
bodily movements and our words. The mind experiences
the phenomenon thousands of times before it appears
through the body. Hence, we need to extinguish it in our
mind.

How do we stop the conscious phenomenon
inside us? Whenever we have a sense of “self, self,
self”, we would feel more and more cramped. And, the
unwholesome mind would gain strength, and this would
affect our physical body. Our face tenses up, and even
our small body becomes heavy. From a light body, our
footsteps become heavy and loud. Notice that when we
separate the physical and mental phenomena, making
our mind bigger than our body, our physical body that is
heavy will become unburdened and light. Why? This is
because the attachment automatically clears and eases.
Therefore, we must have the awareness to contemplate
the conscious phenomenon that emerges from our action.
When practicing vipassana, we must have the clear
intention to know what we are observing—our mind or
the physical phenomenon.

Back to the main conscious phenomenon—when
we experience the inflate-deflate phenomenon or the
breathing phenomenon, how do they change? We must
have the intention. Without the intention, we will just
observe inflate, deflate, inflate, deflate. If we just observe
inflate-deflate, is our mind inside the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, or are we just an outside observer? When
we undertake dhamma research, our mind must be inside
the phenomenon in order to experience clearly how it
changes. This is not only to know that it changes, but how
it changes—slowly, quickly, clearer, or paler, fading, or
whether the inflate-deflate phenomenon has completely
disappeared. This is what we must be fully aware of.

Sometimes we cannot find the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, correct? Why is this? This is not because
our mind is weak. No, our mind is not weak, but the
inflate-deflate phenomenon has disappeared. This is
actually because our mind is more refined. It is beginning
to depart from descriptive reality and experience ultimate
reality. It is moving towards an unburdened state. As the
inflate-deflate phenomenon disappears, other phenomena
will emerge in its place. Do we notice what emerges?
Sometimes, the thoughts phenomenon emerges, but
sometimes nothing emerges—only a sense of emptiness.
Now, what do we do?

This is very important. For the majority of
practitioners, when the inflate-deflate phenomenon
disappears and we cannot find any other conscious
phenomenon to contemplate, we will start to feel
uncomfortable. There is no major conscious phenomenon
for the mind, no thoughts phenomenon, no sensation
phenomenon—just emptiness. We will question whether
this is just tranquility (samadha). Observe whether there
is anything deep down in that emptiness. Is there any
phenomenon emerging? This is what the practitioners
must observe. When we have the intention to know, the
emergence-cessation phenomenon that is more refined
than the inflate-deflate phenomenon will appear, enabling
us to continue to contemplate. There are other phenomena
that are more refined than the inflate-deflate, in addition
to the thoughts and sensation phenomena.

Therefore, when we wilfully contemplate, we must
do it continuously. If the inflate-deflate phenomenon
ceases, clearly know that it has ceased. And, once it
has ceased, what happens next? The phenomenon that
emerges after inflate-deflate such as thoughts, glittering
lights, noises (such as from air-conditioning, humans or
wind), whatever they are, we must have the awareness to
know and contemplate. This is because it is the present
conscious phenomenon.

When there is no sound, no inflate-deflate, no
thoughts, no sensations, what we must know next is what
our mental condition is. Is it peaceful, airy, unburdened,
clear, bright, or dim? We have all observed this, correct?
Yes, but perhaps we were not certain hence we did
not contemplate the mental conditions. Therefore, we
felt that there was nothing. But, in reality, even the
brightness in front of us, the clarity, the dimness, or
fleeting shadows—these are all phenomena that emerge
after the inflate-deflate, or emerging in the emptiness.
These are all phenomena that we must contemplate—
see how they emerge and cease—and after that see how
they change. And, after these phenomena cease, what
happens subsequently?

This is the continuity of contemplation. When
new conscious phenomenon emerges, we must have
the awareness to continuously contemplate. As we
become aware that the new phenomenon emerges and
ceases consistently, our mind is no longer attached
to old phenomena, no longer attached to the past.
This is Dhamma Vijaya (Dhamma Investigation). We
contemplate how a phenomenon emerges, and how it
ceases. This is because all phenomena are governed
by the Three Characteristics of Being (Trilaksana):
Emergence–existence–cessation. When we are aware of
the consistent changes, our attachment to the physical
and mental phenomena will gradually cease.

Have we ever noticed that when we contemplate
the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena, be it inflate-deflate or sensation, we will
not have to worry about defilements. We do not have to
worry about greed, anger, or delusion. Why? Because
if we wilfully contemplate without “self” and be aware
of the present, delusion and anger could not emerge. If
we are aware of the emergence-cessation of the physical
and mental phenomena, our mind would become clearer,
lighter, more uncluttered, and brighter. This is the reason
why we must contemplate the emergence-cessation of
the physical and mental phenomena.

Every conscious phenomenon can be used for
meditative practice. When we have the intention to
contemplate the emergence-cessation of all phenomena
whenever we stand, walk, sit, lie down, eat, drink,
work, speak, think—these can all be used for meditative
practice. Therefore, the practice of vipassana can be
undertaken at any time, without too much formality.
When we cultivate mindfulness, we just need to be
fully aware of things that occur. We simply need the
intention to know what we want to know. If we want
to know the emergence-cessation of the physical and
mental phenomena, we must do this and once we do it,
what is our mental condition? What are the end results?
This, we must know.

It is not because I say it is good. If I say it is good,
while you do not see why it is good, this is not alright. This
is what we call paccattang (Translator’s note: Knowledge
or wisdom that one must discover by oneself)—that
is, we can only discover by ourselves. Discovering by
ourselves means we see what our mental conditions are.
But, the way to practice vipassana, we still need to rely
on our teachers for guidance. Otherwise, we will not be
able to do it correctly. And, if we do not do it correctly,
what would be the end results? This is important.

In any case, if we wish to practice vipassana in
order to extinguish sufferings, having a clear goal will
make it easier. Even if we cannot extinguish sufferings
completely, a momentary extinguishment for one or two
hours would already be considered very fruitful. The
key is for us to extinguish sufferings regularly, without
waiting for sufferings to peak. Yes, sometimes when
sufferings emerge, we do not extinguish them quickly
but instead we fully immerse ourselves in the sufferings
until we feel “satisfied” before extinguishment.

When we contemplate the emergence-cessation of
the physical and mental phenomena, we become aware
of sufferings even before they appear. When we train our
mind and our wisdom to see the true nature of the physical
and mental phenomena, the emergence of the conscious
phenomena will not cause us sufferings. Therefore, do
not wait for sufferings to emerge, cultivate our awareness
before sufferings appear. When sufferings emerge, we
will be fully prepared. We will think: “Yes, we have
seen this before”. Sufferings of the physical body can
be extinguished by altering our bodily positions. What
do we alter to extinguish the sufferings of the mind?
Sufferings of the mind require altering our thoughts and
attitude. The way to alter them is to see the ultimate
reality, and to wholeheartedly accept this reality. Then,
the sufferings of the mind will ease. The ultimate reality
is that nothing belongs to us. There are only physical
and mental phenomena that are governed by causes and
conditions, and consistently emerge and cease.

How do you feel? Do you understand more?
Usually I teach by asking practitioners to relate their
vipassana experiences. Practitioners are left to practice
by themselves and if they have difficulties, I will tell
them clearly how to wilfully contemplate. In general, if
practitioners practice vipassana well, I would feel very
comfortable. When sitting for vipassana, we should feel
like we are sitting on an empty and light space. When
contemplating the emergence-cessation of the conscious
phenomenon, we need to do it without “self”. Do not be
stressed out. Practicing vipassana requires discipline but
should not be stressful. Yes, when we practice vipassana,
we need to be disciplined and serious, but not stressed.
I have already given you the methods to ease stress and
to extinguish sufferings, so go and use them.

That is it for today. May all of you progress in
dhamma.


copy from http://www.mtt4.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=1528


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Experiencing the Natural Conditions
within Satipatthana 4

(The Four Foundation of Mindfulness)

Dhamma greetings to all practitioners. Please sit
comfortably. When listening to dhamma, sit comfortably
and if you could, practice along. However, if you could
not, that is okay. After listening to you relating your
vipassana experience for one day, I feel that practitioners
are beginning to better understand the way to practice
vipassana. Now, I would like to refresh once again the
way to practice vipassana or to contemplate the conscious
phenomena that emerge. To wilfully contemplate
Satipatthana 4 (The Four Foundation of Mindfulness),
we need to contemplate the key phenomena. These are:
Experiencing the physical body within the physical
body, experiencing the sensation within the sensation,
experiencing the mind within the mind, and experiencing
dhamma within dhamma. This morning, a practitioner
asked how to contemplate Satipatthana 4. What is
experiencing the physical body within the physical body?
What is experiencing the mind within the mind? How
to experience the sensation within the sensation? I have
briefly explained this but we will review it again here.

Experiencing the physical body within the physical
body has two parts—the body itself and the bodily
phenomenon. How do we experience the physical body
within the physical body? One bodily phenomenon that
occurs naturally, enabling us to consistently experience
it, is the inflate-deflate phenomenon or the breathing
phenomenon. All conscious phenomena that occur
within our body are bodily phenomena. From the head
down, whatever phenomena that occur in the bodily area
while we practice vipassana are all bodily phenomena.
The phenomenon of the body or the phenomenon of the
corporeality is called “rupa” (corporeality). The body
is considered a rupa. The thing that functions as the
experiencer is our awareness (sati) or our mind.

What is the purpose of experiencing the physical
body within the physical body? This is important. We
do it to see and understand the reality of our body. The
key to vipassana is to contemplate the impermanence
of the body or the corporeality. To be aware of the
Three Characteristics of Being (Trilaksana)—that is
the emergence-cessation phenomenon that occurs in our
body. This phenomenon will be different from person
to person. For some, the inflate-deflate phenomenon is
clear. And, for some, the beating of the heart is clear.
Therefore, when we experience the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, we must contemplate impermanence,
suffering, and non-self—that is, to contemplate the Three
Characteristics of Beings, the characteristics of all mental
formations (sankhara). These are emergence, existence,
and cessation.

We know that our physical body and our mind
are ever changing, always emerging and ceasing. But,
the question is, have we ever experienced it? This is
important. We wilfully contemplate in order to experience
for ourselves—not simply to “believe” because others say
it is so. Therefore, when contemplating the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, we need to have the intention to experience
how the inflate occurs and how the deflate ceases. And
when it inflates, does it have the form of strings, or is it
uneven and ceases at intervals? This is to contemplate the
details of the inflate-deflate phenomenon, to experience
its emergence and cessation. This is called to experience
the physical body within the physical body.

The question is, when we experience the physical
body within the physical body, when we contemplate the
emergence-cessation in our body, do we also experience
our mind? This is the consequence. Whenever we are
aware of the present and we experience the emergencecessation
of the inflate-deflate phenomenon or the
breathing phenomenon—try to observe: What is our
state of mind? Is it still, or wavering? Is it anxious, or
peaceful? That indicates the state of our mind. Or, when
we continuously experience the emergence-cessation of
the inflate-deflate phenomenon, does our mind become
brighter, more unburdened, lighter, or calmer? This is
the consequence.

Why these consequences? When we wilfully
contemplate the emergence-cessation of the inflatedeflate
phenomenon and our mind is in the present,
concentration (samadhi) automatically emerges. This is
called “Khanika Samadhi” (momentary concentration).
When we contemplate, even for a brief moment,
concentration emerges, naturally. Therefore, “the
experiencing of the physical body within the physical
body” means the contemplation of all the emergencecessation
phenomena that relies on our physical body to
emerge.

Sometimes, practitioners practice vipassana and
see that the inflate-deflate phenomenon has disappeared
and, only emptiness remains. Within this emptiness,
what do we contemplate? We should focus on our state
of mind at that moment. Do we feel peaceful, light,
unburdened, or uncluttered? Explore deep into our mind
to experience what we feel. If we feel unburdened, be
still and try to observe within that unburdened state: Are
there any phenomena emerging for us to experience? Try
to observe, perhaps there is sound that emerges clearly
within that unburdened state. Perhaps, there are thoughts
that emerge within that unburdened state. Perhaps,
there are sensations that emerge within that unburdened
state. When emptiness emerges after the inflatedeflate
phenomenon ceases, this is what we should first
explore.

If after we have explored and no conscious
phenomenon emerges in the emptiness or within the
unburdened mind, we should increase the stillness
and explore into the unburdened mind and experience
that deep down, are there any changes? Are there any
emergence-cessation phenomena? We must observe well.
Natural conditions that are the ultimate reality do not have
forms but they can be felt. One thing we can observe is
within the emptiness that emerges—what is our state of
mind? Do we feel uncluttered, unburdened? Do we feel
brightness or complete darkness, or dimness? These are
all conscious phenomena that we can contemplate. When
we observe in this way, there will be natural conditions
for us to contemplate continuously. When we experience
the conscious phenomena within the unburdened mind,
these phenomena are considered to be in refined forms
and are ultimate realities.

When we wilfully contemplate the emergencecessation
phenomenon, the consequence is that we
must be aware that after such contemplation, what are
the conditions of our mind? When we experience the
impermanence of the corporeality, we may see that it
gradually fades away. Some may experience that his arm
is missing, his body is missing, or his head is missing.
The key is that this is us detaching from descriptive
reality. We no longer are attached to the structural and
solid forms. We see these forms disappear or fade away,
as if the physical body ceases. The ultimate reality shows
the Three Characteristics of Beings—it has no form, no
solidness, no story, but still it shows the emergencecessation
continuously. This is experiencing the physical
body within the physical body.

In addition to experiencing the impermanence;
ever-changing, and ever-emerging and ceasing
characteristics, we should also observe whether the
mind or the awareness that acts as the experiencer of the
conscious phenomena, and the conscious phenomena—
are they one of the same. Yes, they are separate. Since
they are separate, what tell us that they are “us”? Can
the physical body tell us that it is “us”? Can the mind
or the awareness tell us that it is “us”? Or, is there just
the experiencer—only the awareness to contemplate?
There is only the mind that acts as an experiencer to
experience conscious phenomena that emerge—be it
the rippling phenomenon, the moving phenomenon, or
the emergence-cessation phenomenon. There is only the
awareness to act as the experiencer.

Now that we see this characteristic of the physical
and mental phenomena, the question is: Should we be
attached to them and claim them as ours? We should
contemplate that if we claim them as ours, what are the
consequences? This we can investigate. Dhamma teaches
us to remove the feeling of “self”. Once we do that, what
is the condition of our mind? When we add the feeling
of “self”, how do we feel? This is the way to extinguish
the feeling of “self”. When we see that the corporeality
is not permanent and is forever changing—it emerges
and then ceases. The physical body does not declare that
it is “us”. The mind does not declare that it is “us”. We
can really see this, we can really feel this. This is seeing
things as they are—not according to our imagination.
This results from our deliberation, our contemplation and
our observation. This is discriminative wisdom.

“Samma-ditthi” (right view) is the clear knowledge
that the physical and mental phenomena are separate;
that they emerge and cease continuously, and that they
are not permanent. This is to contemplate the physical
body within the physical body. When we contemplate
this way, we feel that our mind is free of attachments—
free from the conviction that this corporeality belongs
to us. What is to be “free from attachments”? What is
“the characteristics of the mind that is not attached to
this corporeality”? How does it feel? Clear, unburdened,
light—these are the characteristics of the mind that is free
from attachments. It will emerge once we have removed
the attachments. We could really feel the condition of
the mind if we could really remove the attachments.

Sometimes, when conscious phenomena impact
our six apertures—we hear, we see, we touch, we taste,
we smell, and a sense of “self” emerges. The feeling of
“us” occurs. What should we do? We have to consider
whether the conscious phenomena that impact our six
apertures—are they beneficial or harmful? If beneficial—
for example, the sound of dhamma teachings—what
should we do? We should humbly absorb the sound—
listen and understand so that we could use them for
our vipassana practice. But, if the noise is undesirable,
causing agitation—when it impacts us, it makes us
feel uncomfortable. We cannot prevent this noise from
emerging. Hence, what we need to do is to extinguish
in our mind this feeling of dissatisfaction, this feeling of
annoyance.

The observation is easy. Whenever the feeling of
annoyance emerges, ask whether there is “self”? Is there
a feeling of “us”? Our mind at that moment feels enlarged
or narrow? The key to addressing this is to extinguish the
feeling of “us”. Remove the feeling of “us” or enlarge our
mind to be bigger than the noise. This is called “separating
the physical phenomenon from the mental phenomenon”.
The noise is a physical phenomenon but the mind that
experiences is a mental phenomenon. Just enlarge our
mind to be bigger than the sound, the agitation would
cease. In the future, the noise is just something that we
hear, it emerges then ceases.

Better still, instead of rejecting the noise, we
should have the awareness to contemplate the emergencecessation
of that noise. Take that noise to be a meditative
phenomenon, to use it for vipassana. When we raise our
mind for vipassana and contemplate the emergencecessation
of that noise, to see how it emerges and ceases—
does it emerge and scatter out or fade away or flash
out? When we contemplate this emergence-cessation
phenomenon, our annoyance will cease. Firstly, we will
no longer have the feelings of annoyance or agitation.
Secondly, we will gain discriminative wisdom, cultivate
awareness and gain concentration. If we do not reject
any phenomenon, every conscious phenomenon could
be used for meditative practice.

This is why it is said that physical phenomenon,
sound, smell, flavour, touch, and mental phenomenon are
all phenomena that we should contemplate. This means
that every conscious phenomenon can be meditative
phenomenon when we have the intention to contemplate
how it emerges and ceases. Why? When we contemplate
the emergence-cessation of the sound that occurs, our
mind will not fabricate. There is no feeling of like or
dislike, only how the noise emerges and ceases. Better
still, when we contemplate the emergence-cessation of
that noise, we should put our mind or our awareness in
the same place as the sound. Observe that when the noise
ceases at each moment, does our mind or our awareness
cease as well?

When we contemplate this way, we are really using
our discriminative wisdom. In addition to not fabricating,
there is another benefit. When we practice vipassana, we
have the intention to choose how we contemplate. If we
wish to focus on the descriptive reality, we will listen
for the content. This is sometimes necessary when we
listen to dhamma. If we wish to remember (the content),
we need to enlarge our mind to be bigger than the sound,
to absorb the story. But, if we wish to use the sound to
contemplate the emergence-cessation phenomenon, we
should put our awareness or our mind at the same place
as the sound. And, contemplate the emergence-cessation
of that sound. If our awareness is really in the present, we
would only experience the emergence-cessation of the
sound but we would not understand its content. Therefore,
it depends on what our intention is.

When we contemplate the physical body within the
physical body, we also see our mind. We do not only know
that our body is suffering, that it is hot, that it is cold, or
that it is in pain. Where we feel ache, stiffness, numbness,
itchiness, tautness—all these that happen to our body are
sensations within the “Vedananupassana Satipatthana”.
This is called the contemplation of sensation within
sensation. There are two types of sensation: Physical
sensations that include pain, ache, stiffness, numbness,
itchiness, tautness, and heaviness. And, mind sensations
that include feeling airy, uncluttered, unburdened, light,
happy, and neutral. In dhamma language, we talk about
happiness, suffering, equanimity (upekkha), sadness
(domanassa), happiness (sommanassa)—these are all
mind sensations. In brief, all feelings of suffering or
happiness that emerges in our mind.

When we sit and practice vipassana, we all
experience sensation, correct? After we sit for nearly
one hour, they begin to appear. For some, after just 30
minutes, they already start—perhaps, a back ache, a
shoulder ache, pain in the legs, and pain at the impact
point. Some will experience headache. These are all
sensations. Sometimes we wonder what causes these
sensations. Are they caused by our defilements? Are
they caused by our stress? Are they caused by natural
conditions? We need to observe these. As we sit in the
same position for a prolonged period, bodily sensations
emerge. This is the nature of our physical body.

What benefits can we gain from contemplating
sensations? Sensations phenomenon has two parts—
physical and mind sensations. Physical sensations such as
when pain emerges, the first thing we must contemplate
is whether the pain that emerges and the mind that
experiences it—are they one or are they separate? This
is what we must contemplate, not only to “think” that
they are separate. If we “think”, it means that we do not
“see”, but we merely use deduction or logic. When we use
deduction or logic, we cannot experience clearly when the
natural conditions indicate that sensations phenomenon is
not stable. We only know that sensations emerge, that pain
emerges, but we do not know when they cease. We also
do not see when they emerge. We only know that there
is pain, but once we move, it ceases. Or, once we forget,
it ceases. This is called not experiencing the emergence,
existence, cessation of sensations phenomenon.

We should contemplate the separation between the
mind or the awareness that experiences, and the sensation
phenomenon. Why do we have to do this? We do it so that
we can be aware of the reality of the Aggregate (khandha)
that is called “the sensation aggregate” (vedana khandha).
The mind that experiences is the “consciousness
aggregate” (vinnana khandha). The sensation is a mental
phenomenon. The mind is also a mental phenomenon.
We are separating one mental phenomenon from another.
We do this in order to see clearly that they are totally
separate. Hence, when sensations occur, they should not
impact and sadden our mind, correct?

The physical sensation is one part, the mind
sensation is another. If the physical sensation makes us
gloomy, we have to contemplate whether we have a sense
of “self”, or not? What is gloominess? It is defilement,
correct? Defilements can only emerge with a sense of
“self” or a sense of “us”. With the sense of “us”, likes
and dislikes emerge immediately. But, without “us”,
there will only be a feeling of good or bad. Therefore,
it is important to contemplate whether the mind that
experiences and the sensation that emerges—are they
one of the same, or are they separate?

Next, we have to contemplate the ultimate truth of
sensations phenomenon. When we say sensations are not
permanent, what do we mean? When we say sensations
are sufferings, what do we mean? The characteristics
of sufferings are that what emerges must cease. They
cannot maintain their conditions. We can contemplate
the ache that emerges here—what are its characteristics?
Constant, or sometimes intense, sometimes dull. Or, the
ache emerges and fades away or flashes out. Or, the ache
emerges and radiates away. These are all characteristics
of the sensations phenomenon.

One benefit arising from our contemplation of the
sensations phenomenon is that thina-middha nivarana
(sleepiness, lethargy) will disappear—that is, sleepiness
will disappear. If our mind is awake, it would be bright.
Notice that a person in intense pain cannot fall asleep.
Whenever we have intense pain, we cannot fall asleep at
all. Our mind is alert (Translator’s note: To experience
pain). Therefore, one usefulness or benefit of sensations
contemplation is that we can be aware that this physical
body is a habitation of sufferings; a place of sensations;
and we have no control over them. In addition, we
will become aware of the ultimate truth that sensations
phenomenon changes and it does not proclaim itself
to be “us”. When we contemplate that the mind that
experiences and the sensations phenomenon are separate,
we will see that the sensations phenomenon is just the
sensations phenomenon, it is not animals, humans,
we, or they. It emerges, exists, and ceases, naturally,
according to its causes and conditions. One benefit from
having a contemplating awareness is our mind will be
alert—meaning that it is more powerful. Whoever falls
asleep while concentrating (meditating), should try
to contemplate the emergence-cessation of sensations
phenomenon. Then, the sleepiness will disappear. This
is sensations contemplation.

In addition to being aware that this physical body is
the habitation for sufferings, that sensations are not “us”
and that the sensations phenomenon and the mind are
separate, practitioners should also observe that whenever
we contemplate in this manner, what is the state of our
mind? Do we feel alert, bright or dim, depressed or
gloomy? These are the consequences that practitioners
must investigate or observe. If I give you the answer
now, you would all just wait to see (the state of mind)
and might not find it. Therefore, the thing that we must
contemplate for ourselves is when the sensations do not
proclaim itself to be “us”, what is our state of mind? And,
when we see that sensations are not permanent, should
we be attached to them and claim them as “ours”?

When we contemplate sensations phenomenon
while our physical bodies are still strong, this has many
benefits. When our bodies are strong and resilient and
our mind remains powerful enough to contemplate, we
must practice vipassana! When the end comes, when
sensations are plenty—our mind will be free from
attachments, automatically. Our mind will let go easily
and will not attach itself to sensations until gloominess
emerges. As we say good-bye to this earth, sensations
will emerge—how do we not suffer from sensations? Or,
how can sensations not cause our mind to be gloomy?
This is to experience sensations within sensations. This is
to contemplate the natural conditions that emerge—but,
it requires intention.

Natural conditions that emerge, speaking broadly,
may be different. But, what is certain is impermanence:
Emergence, existence, and cessation. The characteristic
of the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena, we may see emergence state, existence state,
or cessation state. Do we notice that sometimes as we
contemplate conscious phenomena, as we contemplate
the inflate-deflate phenomenon, sometimes we only see
inflate, not deflate. Sometimes inflate then disappears.
Sometime, we see only deflate. Deflate then disappears,
we do not see the inflate state.

Our breathing phenomenon is the same.
Sometimes, we only observe the emergence and existence
states, but not cessation. Those are characteristics of the
natural conditions that are apparent to us. But, above
all, it depends on our intention. We must really intend
to contemplate. Vipassana requires diligence—diligence
to cultivate mindfulness. This is to contemplate all
conscious phenomena that emerge, to see how they
change or how they cease. Whether we undertake
major or minor bodily movements, we should have the
awareness to contemplate.

What are mind sensations? As mentioned before,
this is when we feel uncomfortable, feel sad, feel
depressed and dejected, feel happy, feel soft and gentle,
or feel exhilarated. All of them are mind sensations. When
mind sensations emerge, how should we contemplate?
Whether sensations of the physical body or the mind, they
are all governed by the Rule of Trilaksana (The Three
Characteristics of Beings)—emergence, existence, and
cessation. Even happiness that emerges, it is also not
permanent. This is not to deny happiness, but to know
that happiness is not permanent. What about sufferings?
They are also not permanent.

Therefore, when sufferings emerge, we should
have the awareness to wilfully contemplate how they
emerge and cease. When sufferings emerge, the quicker
we can extinguish them, the better. I have already taught
you how to extinguish sufferings. As mentioned last
night, when thinking about issues that are upsetting,
what is our state of mind? Cramped and heavy—these
are characteristics of mind sensations. Therefore, if we
want to extinguish them, we have to do it in our mind.
Can we use our thoughts? If we could do it, that is good.
But, many times, no matter how hard we think and
ponder, they cannot be extinguished. This shows that we
are not doing it correctly—we only have the “desire” to
extinguish, but without the correct method, they are not
extinguished.

What is the way to extinguish sufferings? As
mentioned before, sufferings rely on the feeling of “us”,
rely on the feeling of “self”, to emerge. Hence, the way to
extinguish sufferings is to extinguish the feeling of “us”.
One way is to remove the feeling of “us”. Another way
is to expand our mind, then, sufferings will disappear.
Once sufferings disappear, which mind sensations
emerge? Once sufferings disappear, our mind will feel
unburdened, peaceful, calm, or “neutral”. This is called
“upekkha vedana” (equanimity sensation). Or, sometimes,
happiness emerges, deep comfort emerges, this is called
“sommanassa vedana” (happiness sensation).

Therefore, when practicing vipassana, regardless
of whatever conscious phenomena or natural conditions
emerge, it is important to be aware—regardless of
whether the conscious phenomena are internal or external,
and regardless of whether the phenomena are physical
or mental—how they emerge and how they cease. These
are mind sensations. We do not have to be afraid of
being attached to the happiness that emerges. It is rare
for anyone to be able to be happy every day. We always
search for happiness, wanting the happiness to be with
us, but it does not stay long. Since happiness is fleeting,
sufferings could enter.

What is the way to seek happiness easily? In reality,
happiness is not far away. Once we attain happiness, what
do we do with it? Happiness that emerges, if the mind is
wholesome, it becomes very complementary, enabling
us to make even more merits. Have you ever recollected
the merits that you have made? Yes? Has anybody never
recollected the merits that they have made? No? This is
good, this is clever. The merits that we have made can
be brought to good use. Try this. Let our mind be empty
and take this empty, light mind and place it around the
area of our heart called hadaya-vatthu—the area between
our neck to our sternum. Now, how do we feel? We feel
light and uncluttered. While we feel light and uncluttered,
we recollect the merits that we have made and take these
merits, and place them into our light and unburdened
mind. See what is our state of mind?

As we recollect and place the merits that we have
made into our unburdened mind—no matter how wide
our mind is, make that merits just as wide. Fill it until
full, until they overflow from our physical body. If our
mind is as big as the (temple) pavilion, also make the
merits as big as the pavilion. How do we feel? Fully
contented, right? When we feel fully contented, are there
any desires? No. There is only one “desire”—the desire to
share this contentment with others, wanting others to be
happy. Why? This is because our heart is full of merits,
not material things.

If we want this happiness to last for a long time,
we should be “satisfied” and observe it continuously. If
we want this happiness to stay for a long time, we should
use it to experience every conscious phenomenon that
emerges. Usually, we already use the awareness or the
mind to experience conscious phenomena. So, we just
make a little change—from a mind that is full of anger,
full of delusion, into a mind full of happiness. Here,
wholesomeness will emerge. Use this mind that is full
of happiness to experience phenomena, and, do not be
afraid of being attached to it. Now, let observe a little
further. If we make our mind that is full of happiness to
be as big as the sky—how do we feel? Does the mind
that is full of happiness proclaim itself to be “us”? Or,
is it just the feeling of happiness?

Without “us”, there will still be happiness. Without
“us”, does not mean barrenness. Try taking the mind that
is full of happiness and place it around our face. How does
the face feel? The face feels fresh and bright, not barren.
We should dress up both our mind and our physical
body. If we dress up the body but not the mind—our
face would be gloomy, depressed, and lifeless. It makes
the world appears unbearable. But, if we are happy, the
world would be beautiful for us and everything would be
good and beautiful. This is not that we are enchanted by
the world or that we are attached to beauty. It is simply
that when our mind is wholesome or happy, the world
will appear beautiful.

How about the teaching that we should not be
attached to happiness? The happiness here still has
consistent changes. When happiness emerges, use the
awareness to experience it, to see how it changes. Does
the happiness become more and more refined? This is the
thing that we must contemplate. If we see the changes
here, we would not be attached to happiness because
happiness is not permanent. It is not that happiness turns
into sufferings, happiness then sufferings, happiness
then sufferings. Rather, happiness has different levels of
refinement. This is to experience our mind sensations.
The mind that changes from unrefined to refined. All
these, we need to contemplate in order to experience, not
just to “think” (Translator’s note: That they change).

When we contemplate the mind within the mind,
experience the happiness, observe whether it is wider
and more refined. Contemplating the mind within the
mind has three components. One, know how the mind
is. Is it heavy, light, happy, peaceful? Two, know what
the mind is thinking, thinking about what? This is
descriptive reality. But, if we know how thoughts emerge
and how they cease, this is vipassana—to experience
the emergence-cessation of the thoughts phenomenon.
Finally, once the mind that experiences all the phenomena
ceases, does it re-emerge and cease again? This is what
we must contemplate.

When experiencing the mind within the mind, the
first thing is to know how the state of the mind is. Does
the mind feel soft and gentle, unburdened, light, peaceful,
depressed or agonizing? And, to know what the mind is
thinking—and how the thoughts emerge and cease. Also,
the mind that acts as the experiencer, how does it emerge
and cease? Does it emerge and cease? These are things
that practitioners must observe, must contemplate. These
are refined natural conditions hence may take sometimes
to experience. But, if today you do not experience them,
perhaps you would in future days.

What are natural conditions (sapawa dhamma)?
Natural conditions are physical and mental phenomena
that emerge while we have the awareness. Corporeality,
sound, odour, taste, tactile sensations, and mind-object
(dhammarom) are natural conditions that emerge. Mindobject
emerges in the mind. What things emerge in our
mind? As mentioned before, it is not just thoughts that
emerge in our mind. Good and bad feelings, sadness and
happiness, heaviness, lightness, coldness, heat, softness,
hardness, tautness—these are all physical and mental
phenomena. When we experience dhamma within
dhamma, how do the natural conditions change and how
do they emerge and cease? When we contemplate this
way, it will help us to be released from attachments. Why?

By nature, our mind is not inclined to cling to
things that are not stable, things that are always changing.
Observe that things that change often irritate us, correct?
We prefer things that stay the same for a prolonged
period—they make us happy. Therefore, when practicing
vipassana, we always say “when will I find peace so
that I can sit still and peacefully for a long time?” When
we sit peacefully for a long time, we feel good—we
feel attached to that state, correct? However, if we are
peaceful and we contemplate the emergence-cessation
of the physical and mental phenomena, even for minor
bodily movements, our mind can also be unburdened.
Our mind will feel free and unburdened, not attached to
the phenomena that emerge.

But, since we are still practitioners, we have to
use major bodily movements for contemplation.
Practicing vipassana requires fundamentals that
beginners still do not have unlike experts or skillful
persons. For them, practicing vipassana is normal and
natural. But, for us who are still practitioners, we need
to use the major bodily movements for our minds. For
each instance (banlung), our major bodily movements
will change. From contemplation of the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, this may change to contemplation of the
sensations phenomenon. Or, perhaps, there may be
lights that emerge for us to contemplate. These lights
emerge from the physical phenomenon. If our mind
experiences this phenomenon, it should also cease. This
is to experience the emergence-cessation of the physical
and mental phenomena.

Today that I teach about the Four Foundations
of Mindfulness (Satipatthana 4), I hope practitioners
will have deeper understanding of vipassana practice.
In contemplating the natural conditions, please use
this understanding. One more thing, the conditions or
phenomena that I talked about, if they are not the same
as what you are experiencing, do not try to find them.
Use the current phenomenon that is in front of you as
key—and things will eventually progress. Do not try to
see or force the phenomenon that I mentioned.

Furthermore, when we contemplate conscious
phenomena, when we practice vipassana, if we force
ourselves or if we concentrate too sternly, then we would
feel cramped, we would feel headache. The correct way
is to step back and use the awareness to contemplate
steadily and consistently, but do not force that
phenomenon to be crystal clear. If the phenomenon
is light and fine—then we should be aware that it is
light and fine. We do not force it to be solid or vigorous.
Be clearly aware of how the phenomenon is and what
we experience—not what we force it to be.

The easiest way to find happiness is to have
“contentment”. That is to be contented that we have
no sufferings. Has anyone ever seen the state of no-
sufferings? Yes? Whenever we experience this state of
no-sufferings, just add the feeling of contentment and see
how do we feel? Happiness immediately emerges! Just be
contented with no-sufferings—this is easy. Sometimes,
we struggle so hard to find happiness that we overlook
our state of no-sufferings. Therefore, just be aware when
we have no-sufferings, then be contented with that state,
then happiness will emerge.

Today’s time is up. But, before we get up, let
us share the loving-kindness (pae metta). Just now I
mentioned about the way to recollect merits. Now, we talk
about sharing the merits. Do you still have the merits that
we mentioned just now? Yes? Recollect the merits that
we wish to share. When sharing loving-kindness, I will
not use words, but let us focus our minds and resolve. In
order to share loving-kindness or merits, we first need to
have merits. In order to share happiness, our minds must
have happiness. If our minds do not have happiness, how
can we share it? How can others receive it? Therefore,
as I asked you to recollect your merits just now, try it.

Recollect and bring merits into our minds until
they are full. Then expand the minds widely with no
boundaries, no limitations. Then, we focus and resolve
whom we wish to share these merits with. Think about
our fathers and mothers, think about our benefactors.
Then, we send out these merits, send out these minds that
are full of merits and full of contentment to our fathers
and mothers and our benefactors. Observe when we
think about anyone, the mental pictures of those people
appear. Now, try to see what happen to their faces, once
we send these happiness and contentment to them. Can
you do it? Try it—this is the way to share merits.

Send merits and loving-kindness out without
boundaries, without limitations. Focus and resolve that
all of these people rejoice with us in the merits that we
are making—be it from giving alms and donation, from
abiding by the Buddhist precepts, or from practicing
vipassana—activities that we have done and are currently
doing. We hope that these people rejoice with us in the
merits that we have made. If they have any sufferings, we
hope that they would soon be free from these sufferings.
If they are already happy, we hope that this happiness
grows further. As for the celestial beings (devata) here
or elsewhere, we also hope that they rejoice with us in
the merits that we are making.

Finally, may the benefits of the merits that we
have made and are making become penance, strength
and condition for all practitioners to progress in dhamma
until nibbana is attained.


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The Intention to Contemplate the Emergence-Cessation of the Physical and Mental Phenomena

Dhamma blessings to all practitioners. Today
is the third day that we are here together, to practice
vipassana. After three day, how do you feel? Do you
begin to understand? I wish to refresh for you how to
contemplate natural conditions during vipassana. In
actual fact, some of you have already practiced vipassana
for quite a while. Some of you have practiced for a long
time, and are doing well.

Now, the way to contemplate the conscious
phenomena or the natural conditions that emerge—many
of you still have questions whether what you are doing
is correct or incorrect. Furthermore, some of you are not
certain which phenomenon should be contemplated. For
example, when we practice vipassana, what is the key
conscious phenomenon that we should contemplate?
As we experience, should we contemplate the inflatedeflate
phenomenon mainly, or should we contemplate
the breathing phenomenon mainly? Here, we need to
be fully aware, at that present moment, what conscious
phenomenon we are contemplating.

The most important point about vipassana is to
have the intention. That is, when conscious phenomenon
emerges, contemplate how it emerges and how it ceases.
Regardless of whether that phenomenon is inflate-deflate,
breathing in-breathing out, sensations phenomenon,
thoughts phenomenon, or mental images (nimitta).
For some, when practicing vipassana, mental images
emerge—images of people, trees, waterfall, grass fields,
buildings. When these mental images emerge, what
should we do? When these images emerge, we should
have the awareness to contemplate how each image
emerges, and how it ceases. Does it emerge and fade
away, disappear or flash out, or expand and gradually
fade away? We must have the intention to follow and
contemplate how the phenomena emerge and cease.

Furthermore, it is important to have the
continuation of the conscious phenomenon that we
contemplate. When we contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, we should observe what is its initial form?
And, what are the subsequent forms? When I ask: What
are the characteristics of the inflate- deflate phenomenon?
How does it emerge and cease? We sometimes just
answer: It inflates then deflates. A further question
is: Does the phenomenon become clearer? Or, does it
gradually fade away? These are the things that we must
observe. And, once the inflate-deflate fully disappears,
what other things should we contemplate? Once the
inflate-deflate phenomenon disappears, observe how we
feel at that particular moment—this is called the state of
our mind. Do we feel peaceful, light, neutral, silent, calm,
or unburdened?

The point to observe is once the inflate-deflate
disappears and nothing else emerges at all, only the feeling
of emptiness. Here, it means, in front of us there is no
emergence-cessation phenomenon, no changes. Observe
that when we are serene in the emptiness, is there any
phenomenon that emerge? If we calmly observe, there
would be one phenomenon or another that would emerge
in that emptiness for us to contemplate. For example,
after the inflate-deflate phenomenon disappears and we
sit calmly in the emptiness. If the thoughts phenomenon
emerges, then we should contemplate that—see how it
emerges and ceases.

Here, we need to have the intention in order to
experience how the thoughts phenomenon emerges and
ceases. This is not the same as trying to see where the
thoughts are going. The intention is different. Wanting
to see where the thoughts are going and for how long,
and having the intention to experience how the thoughts
that emerge cease. The intention is different. When we
contemplate the emergence-cessation of thoughts, we
will experience the characteristics of the cessation of the
thoughts. But, if we observe where the thoughts are going,
they would just continue on and on. Why? Because we
think, we fabricate, hence the thoughts jump from one
issue to the next and to the next—for the entire meditative
instance (banlung). Even after the end of the meditative
instance, the thoughts continue.

As mentioned yesterday, every time we
contemplate conscious phenomena, we need to have
the intention. Why do we need to have the intention to
experience the emergence-cessation of the physical and
mental phenomena? This is because we need to have the
intention to be aware of the ultimate truth of the physical
and mental phenomena—that is mental formations
(sankhara) are not permanent, perceptions (sanna) are
not permanent, minds (vinnana) are not permanent,
corporeality (rupa) are not permanent, and sensations
(vedana) are not permanent. We know that the Five
Aggregates are not permanent, but we still are attached
to them. Why? Because we “know” but we do not “see”,
we therefore have the feeling that we want to claim the
Five Aggregates to be “ours”. The sense of “us” always
emerges every time one of the Five Aggregates clearly
appears.

As we sit here, which aggregate is the most
apparent? Is it corporeality, sensations, perceptions,
mental formations, or mind? This depends on each
person. The reason I ask this question is because the
Five Aggregates that appear are not clear to everyone
at the same time. Why did the Buddha categorise into
aggregates? Because sometimes we are aware of the
mind aggregate and the corporeality aggregate, but not
the sensations aggregate, correct? These are natural
conditions that emerge. If sensations emerge, they are
mental sensations, called equanimity sensations (upekkha
vedana)—the feeling of nothingness, just emptiness and
neutrality.

When we contemplate the emergence-cessation
phenomenon, the important thing is for us to be free
from attachments. The awareness of the emergencecessation
of the physical and mental formations is like
being aware of new lives. Our lives are our physical and
mental phenomena, correct? Only the physical body and
the mind—these are physical and mental phenomena.
Whenever we experience the cessation of the old
physical and mental phenomena, and we experience the
emergence of the new physical and mental phenomena, it
is like experiencing a new life. But, this requires careful
and detailed contemplation, to really be focused on our
contemplations. What is the usefulness of being aware
of the emergence-cessation phenomena? What good is
it? Some practitioners wish to know why we need to be
aware of the emergence-cessation phenomena. What
good is it? If we used to have this question, hopefully
we no longer have it now.

When we are aware of the emergence-cessation
of all conscious phenomena, the briefer they are, the
less our mental fabrication. The longer the phenomena
persist, the more the fabrication. The longer we are
aware of the existence of the phenomena, the more we
will be attached to them. When we are aware of the
existence of the phenomenon and we fabricate, this is
called “mental action” (manokamma). If the fabrication
is wholesome, then wholesome action would result.
If the fabrication is unwholesome, then unwholesome
action would result. But, as we experience emergence
then cessation, fabrication does not emerge. Observe
that the mind that experiences the emergence-cessation
phenomenon—is that mind wholesome or unwholesome?
It is wholesome, correct? With a well-grounded mind and
with the awareness, there is wholesomeness.

Therefore, when we practice vipassana, we should
have the intention to be aware of the emergence-cessation
of various conscious phenomena. Observe that in our
daily lives, our minds are inclined to attach to what type
of phenomena? With close observations, we will see that
our minds tend to attach to unwholesome phenomena. For
example, all of us have experienced anger. If the anger
exists for one hour, the mind could commit how may
unwholesome actions? Numerous—as the mind thinks
up issues, caused mainly by anger. The anger drives
more and more unwholesome actions. Sometimes the
mental actions are transformed into verbal actions and,
sometimes, these can even be transformed into physical
actions—all because of anger, alone.

How can mental actions be transformed into
verbal and physical actions? Because our minds consume
those phenomena thousands of times until they can no
longer be contained and must be released as verbal and
physical actions. The end result is the completion of the
three components, not the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the
Sangha. But, rather, they are the physical actions, the
verbal actions, and the mental actions. Therefore, when
unwholesomeness or anger emerges and we are aware,
and we can extinguish the anger, our mind that will
consume the unwholesome actions will be diminished.
Our mind that will experience sufferings will also be
reduced. When the lives of the phenomena are short, the
misery of our bad deeds will be diminished. This is a way
to control one’s kamma or to extinguish the kamma. This
is not the same as extinguishing the misery of our bad
deeds. It means to extinguish the possibility of creating
new kamma. We stop our mental formations—as we
begin to think, we extinguish the thoughts.

When we are angry, are we happy or are we
suffering? We are suffering, correct? How do we
extinguish suffering? If we trace everything back to the
beginning—when anger emerges, it causes us sufferings.
Although we know that, we experience sufferings every
time we are angry but we still like to be angry. Then
you ask your masters: “Why am I so inclined to anger?”
Nobody can answer that question. A better question would
be: “Why is it so easy for me to be angry?” And, “What
is the way to extinguish anger?” The way to extinguish
anger is to extinguish the feeling of “us”. Remove the
feeling of “us”. When we remove the feeling of “us”, we
are extinguishing egoistic pride (mana-ditthi), correct?
People with a lot of egoistic pride are inclined to anger,
are bad-tempered. By nature, people are different. Some
have angry nature and are temperamental, easy to anger.
Some anger easily and cool down easily. Some anger
easily but cool down slowly.

The thing that we practice here, we contemplate
the emergence-cessation phenomenon. We know how to
extinguish conscious phenomena—in order to experience
the nature of the mind. In reality, the conscious phenomena
that we experience, they exist for a moment and then
cease, we really understand their nature. But, once the
phenomena touch us and we become the receiver, having
“us” as the experiencer, then these phenomena impact
us fully. Then, we spread the impact to others. Observe
that when we are happy, we wish to share that happiness
with others, correct? Similarly, when we are full of anger,
we start to share it with others. When nobody wishes to
share that anger, then we become dissatisfied. We wish
to impose that anger on to others: “You must listen to
me. You must listen to me!” When the other person
walks away, we become agitated. We rarely think about
positive feelings.

The quicker we can extinguish conscious
phenomena, the less kamma we will make. Furthermore,
unwholesome kamma will be shortened, wholesome
kamma will be lengthened. Unwholesome mind shortens,
wholesome mind lengthens. Vipassana focuses on the
contemplation of the emergence-cessation of the physical
and mental phenomena. Every time we experience
the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena, it is like cutting the cycle of birth and death.
Why? This is because the cycle of birth and death is
caused by the existence of conscious phenomena.

I used the example of anger because anger is an
obvious phenomenon. When we are angry, we think about
numerous things—limitless and unending. If we were to
die at that moment, die while we are angry—how would
we be reborn? Some people have resentment and carry
vengeance for many lives. Some people resolve never
to meet particular persons in the next life! Every time
they make merits and make dedications, they will always
resolve never to meet those particular persons in the next
life. But, every time they make such resolutions, the
faces of those people appear in front of them. However,
if they make dedications to and wish to share happiness
with those people, then the faces of those people would
gradually fade away. This is why we are taught to
share loving-kindness with others, in order to remove
attachments, to extinguish vengeance.

This is how we prolong the cycle of birth and death.
Even with happiness, if we are attached to happiness, we
will continue to prolong the cycle of birth and death. But,
when we contemplate the emergence-cessation of the
physical and mental phenomena—this is cutting the cycle
of birth and death. Why? Once we have attained nibbana,
becoming a Stream-Enterer (Sotapanna)—there are only
seven lives left, correct? And, how many lives have we
lived? We do not know. We cannot recall. But, we can
move forward. The important point about vipassana
practice is what our “goal” is. Is our goal to practice
vipassana is merely for the sake of practicing? Or, is
our goal is to attain nibbana—we practice to extinguish
sufferings? Therefore, we must have the determination.

We always think about the Buddha, relying on him
as our role model. Why did he abandon his royal status
and strived for extrication? His desire for extrication
was intense. We need to have real determination. We do
not know how much merits, how much virtues (barami)
we have accumulated over numerous lives. We cannot
recall. But, one thing we do know is that if we had never
practiced vipassana (Translator’s note: In previous
lives), we would have no interests in what the Buddha’s
teachings are. Had we never listened to Buddhist
sermons, we would not understand how good dhamma
is. Therefore, we have accumulated some experience at
least. What remains is the way forward, and whether we
will really progress in that direction. And, whether we
really have the desire to extinguish sufferings? That is
the key!

For example, when we came here, we had the
intention to practice vipassana. We left home in order
to practice vipassana. After practicing for two days,
entering the third day, we started to feel bored. We feel
that everything is repetitive. What do we observe? We
do not know what to contemplate. The natural conditions
that emerge appear repetitive. This is natural. These are
things that we need to contemplate. And, the feelings
of monotony, the feeling of boredom, the feeling of
laziness—these are types of conscious phenomena. They
are our state of mind. They are called the lazy one. And,
if our boredom is full of “self”, it is called the defilement
one. What do we practice vipassana for? To detach
from defilements, correct? Do not let defilements lead.
Always tell ourselves: “I am cultivating mindfulness, I
must wilfully contemplate, promptly”.

As the feeling of boredom begins to emerge,
promptly contemplate that phenomenon. As we become
aware, contemplate immediately. Do not waste time
lamenting. Use the awareness to contemplate. We think
in a straight forward manner. We do things simply.
We abandoned the outside world to come here in order
to purify our minds. Therefore, whatever things that
encroach upon our minds, we should have the awareness
to contemplate how they emerge and how they cease. As
we have the awareness to experience the phenomenon,
how does it disappear? That is our duty. When we have
such a clear goal, obstacles will be greatly reduced.
Outside matters cannot disturb us. What remain are
the things that we need to wilfully contemplate—as
mentioned before—there are four things: Experience
the physical body, experience sensations, experience the
mind, and experience dhamma.

When contemplating sensations phenomenon,
we also need to have a clear intention. For example,
this afternoon, a practitioner told me that a sensations
phenomenon emerged, so he had to fight it and must
defeat it. I was thinking—he is transforming a natural
condition into an enemy! Sensations that emerge are a
phenomenon that we should contemplate—they are not
our enemy. They are a phenomenon that we must wilfully
contemplate: How they emerge and cease. The thing
that we must defeat is our own mind—not sensations.
Sensations are not permanent. How do we defeat our own
mind? We defeat it by not denying sensations and have
the awareness to experience the sensations that emerge
and how they cease. How they change? Are they heavy
or light? This is our duty.

The way to battle sensations is with our wisdom,
not our strength. We are cultivators of mindfulness,
we need to use wisdom. When sensations emerge, the
first thing that we need to do is to observe whether the
mind that acts as the experiencer and the sensations that
emerge—are they one of the same or are they separate?
We should be aware further whether sensations that
occur—are they pain, are they itch, or are they numbness?
The sensations that we talk about, what are they? If they
are pain—where is the pain? Is the pain at the knee, in
the back, in the shoulder, or in the head? If we know the
location of the pain, then we would know the location
of our mind. If we do not know the location of the pain,
then we would not know where our mind is.

Observe closely—if we know that the pain is in
the knee, we could observe whether the mind that acts as
the experiencer is around the knee-cap or outside of the
knee. By this observation, we can see whether our mind
is at the location of the sensations or in different places.
That is using our wisdom to separate the sensations
from our mind. Secondly, as we experience that the
mind and the sensations are separate, we should observe
further whether the mind and the sensations—which
one has greater strength? If our mind is weaker than the
sensations, we should step back and do not focus (into
the sensations).

Now, as the mind becomes stronger, the next
thing to observe is whether the sensations are stationary
or moving? At their periphery, do sensations move
slightly or are they stationary? Observe—if the periphery
is stationary, what about the core of the sensations? If
the core has the phenomenon of small specks that flash
and then disappear, flash and then disappear, we should
contemplate these changes—where the phenomenon of
flash and disappear occur. When contemplating sensations
phenomenon, we need to have the intention to experience
the changes or the emergence-cessation phenomenon.
We do not force the sensations to disappear. Here we
battle with our wisdom—we experience the emergence of
flashes and movement—that is the impermanence of the
sensations phenomenon that is changing. As we continue
to contemplate, sensations will continue to change.

There is another characteristic—as we contemplate
sensations, instead of experiencing the impermanence
of sensations, we experience the strength of sensations.
What is the strength of sensations? When pain emerges,
we reiterate: “It is painful”. This is not wrong, but
we should be aware whether we are experiencing the
pain or experiencing changes of the sensations? When
we contemplate pain—sometimes the pain emerges,
sometimes the pain eases—this is okay. But, if we just
focus on the pain, our mind would consume the feeling
of pain rather than experiencing changes. Have we ever
noticed—if we just focus on the pain—it would be very,
very painful? In the end, we gave up and had to move.

Furthermore, as mentioned, we should contemplate
on changes. By its nature, pain that is unchanging and
stationary is very difficult to endure. But the majority of
pain—the phenomenon is sometimes intense, sometimes
not very clear. Sometimes, the pain emerges and it
becomes stronger and stronger, until it is no longer
bearable. But, most of the time, the pain emerges, then
ceases, emerges, then ceases.

Another way to battle with our wisdom is—when
the pain intensifies and then eases, use our mind to
focus into the phenomenon each time the pain eases.
This is the interval between pains—the interval between
phenomena. The pain is at intervals, as we focus our
mind, it changes. As the mind enters the intervals,
how are the sensations? How do they change? This is
the way to battle sensations with wisdom. Sensations
are not permanent—they display their impermanence.
But, instead of experiencing their impermanence, we
consume the essence of sensations that is pain—so, it
is very painful! In contemplating natural conditions, in
contemplating conscious phenomena, we need to have
the intention.

And, one more thing, after we practice vipassana
for a while, our physical body begins to tire. We wake
up early, go to bed late. Hence, when we sit to practice
vipassana, we fall asleep, we feel tired. Sometimes, even
while walking, we fall asleep. Why? Observe whether
this is caused by our physical tiredness or by our intense
concentration. When we wilfully contemplate, but our
key conscious phenomenon is not clear, it is hazy. When
contemplating the action of walking, the phenomenon is
hazy and unclear. The phenomenon of inflate-deflate is
hazy. In these circumstances, tiredness emerges. While
sleepiness appears, what do we do? We have to endure
it and sit and sit and sit until the feeling of sleepiness
disappears. This is normal.

A way to battle sleepiness is when the feeling
emerges, we should change our bodily movements or
positions. After we have done it, if we still fell sleepy, then
we should get up and wash our face. If we are still sleepy,
just go to sleep for a while before getting up to continue
practicing. Whether we sleep while sitting or while lying
down, there is no difference. But, if we sleep while lying
down, when we get up, we are refreshed. Alternatively, if
we sleep while sitting, when we get up, we feel drowsy.
But, observe that if the sleepiness is caused by intense
concentration, the key is to wilfully contemplate the
phenomenon. Once this major phenomenon is clear, the
sleepiness will disappear.

This afternoon, I told you the way to deal with
sleepiness. You are still sleepy now, correct? Observe
how the sleepiness emerges. The sleepiness will emerge
when our mind lacks a major conscious phenomenon,
when we feel somewhat empty. Sometimes, our thoughts
are the one who bring sleepiness, correct? When our mind
is empty, and some thoughts slowly emerge, we enjoy
being in thoughts. Then, suddenly, we drop off to sleep.
As we come to, we ask: “Where did we go, just now?” It
is like falling off a high place. After this brief sleep, we
wake up refreshed. For anyone who practices vipassana,
this is a natural condition that can occur. It is natural.

As mentioned before, the way to resolve
(sleepiness) is to unburden our mind. We can do it, right?
Try it one more time—take our mind and move it outside
of our physical body. In this empty space, as the mind is
unburdened, how does it feel? Does it feel dim or clear?
Does it feel awake or drowsy? It feels awake, right?
This is good. Now take this unburdened mind and place
it around our face—how does it feel? How do our eyes
feel? Brighter! This is because when we feel sleepy, the
atmosphere begins to dim, and it begins to darken. Once
the darkness moves below our eye lids—that’s it! We
fall asleep. Observe well when we practice vipassana,
not just knowing but be aware of what happens and
what the consequences are. When sleepiness emerges,
we do not pay attention to it, as we try to contemplate
other phenomena. We try to contemplate only inflatedeflate
or the breathing phenomenon while thinking that
sleepiness is not a conscious phenomenon that we should
contemplate. This is a misunderstanding.

Observe that when sleepiness emerges, other
phenomena will not be clear, correct? Inflate-deflate
fades, breathings are difficult to pinpoint, even thoughts
are very light. There is no sensation—if there is,
sleepiness would not emerge. Therefore, the way to
address sleepiness is whenever it appears, take our mind
and move it into the sleepiness. Then send it far away or
expand it widely. Try it—whoever is sleepy now, expand
the mind widely—how does it make our brain feel?

Sometimes after we have expanded our mind and
our brain is now uncluttered and our eyes are brighter,
but if we observe well, there are still remnants of the
sleepiness in the periphery. As we lose our awareness,
it will rush back in and our sleepiness re-emerges. If this
happens, we go back in again and expand our mind again.
The key is to move the sleepiness far faraway, without
any remnants. If we can expand it to the extremity and
there are no remnants left, our mind would be fully
awake, immediately. This is the way to battle sleepiness.
As the mind awakens, it becomes brighter. And, as we
add more calmness, concentration increases and the
awareness becomes more powerful. Then, sleepiness
will disappear. This is a way to battle sleepiness—in
addition to washing our faces or change our activity or
our position by walking.

The way to address sleepiness that is caused
by intense concentration is to increase the feeling of
alertness. To increase alertness is not very easy as we do
not know what it is. What is alertness—can we think of
it? (A practitioner answers: To contemplate in a quick
and swift manner) When we sit and meditate, is our
mind awake? Yes, correct? Do we need to contemplate
quickly? No. But, we can feel what the characteristics of
a mind that is awake are. It is not drowsy, correct? It is
refreshed and clear. A mind that is awake will be bright,
meaning our awareness is robust. We need to observe, we
need to look at our own mind, not just contemplating the
conscious phenomena. This is because if we focus solely
on the conscious phenomena, we would be aware only
of physical phenomena, but not the mental phenomena.

Therefore, contemplation includes experiencing
the physical and mental phenomena, experiencing
the physical body and the mind, and experiencing
the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena. Sometimes we wonder: “How is our mind?”
We can feel straight away—is it neutral, unburdened,
calm, or comfortable? We just need to observe our mind
to see how it is. These are the characteristics of the mind.
This is the way to battle phenomena, to resolve sleepiness.

In contemplating the conscious phenomena, some
practitioners are curious about when inflate-deflate
ceases, with only emptiness remains—real emptiness. If it
is real emptiness, then everything disappears—including
the physical body that sits there. But, if the inflate-deflate
disappears, but the physical body remains, we should
focus on the impact point. The key thing to observe is that
the mind that experiences the sitting phenomenon, does
it experience then ceases? As the phenomenon ceases,
do we need to contemplate again. Observe this way.

Furthermore, whenever the inflate-deflate
phenomenon ceases, and then we focus on the physical
body. If we feel that the body is still there, but the inflatedeflate
phenomenon is gone, then observe what the
features of the physical body are. Is it thick, is it opaque,
is it transparent, is it light, or does it only have the outer
lines? This is where we need to observe well. If it is
thick, that is a phenomenon that we must contemplate.
Take the awareness to experience the dense phenomenon
and see how it changes. Contemplate the phenomenon
there. If it is transparent, move in and contemplate how
that transparency changes—does it become brighter; or
brighter then fades away? These are the phenomenon that
we must contemplate, not just waiting to contemplate
the inflate-deflate phenomenon because it has already
disappeared.

Therefore, we have to focus back to the physical
body. We have to be aware—how is the physical body?
Once we focus back to the physical body, if we experience
glittering along the body—that is the emergencecessation
of the physical phenomenon. No matter where
those glittering occur—experience that phenomenon
and contemplate how they disappear, how they cease.
Move the awareness to experience inside the body’s
emptiness. If you experience a sense of minor ripples—
just experience that—see how the ripples change. Do
they slowly fade away or do they become clearer and
clearer? These ripples we can experience whether they
become narrower and smaller, or wider and wider. We
can experience them, although we cannot see them.

This experience is important. We cannot always
see, but we can experience. These are normal conditions
that are refined. Observe that sometimes there is no
inflate-deflate but we can experience changes. There,
our natural conditions are good and are moving into the
ultimate reality. When there is a complete emptiness—not
even the physical body—there is still the mind that
experiences. When there is emptiness and there is no
physical body, the mind is unburdened. When the mind is
unburdened, observe what the environment in front of us
is—bright, clear, calm, uncluttered, gentle, hazy, or dark?
These, we will definitely see. Just try closing your eyes.

Observe, when we close our eyes, what is the
environment in front of us? Bright, correct? When we
see brightness, take the mind into that brightness and
experience how it changes. That is the phenomenon that
our mind must contemplate. It is a natural condition. A
bright mind is called “obhasa”, which is a Pali word
meaning brightness. When there is brightness, we move
into it to experience it—does the mind feel good? Does
it feel comfortable? Does it feel bright or dim? It feels
bright.

In any case, the mind needs conscious phenomena
to contemplate. Just like when we look at the whiteboard,
there appears to be no changes. But, if we calmly
look at the whiteboard, we would notice whether our
perception is consistently clear. Or, is it sometimes clear,
sometimes blurred? This is in the same location. This is
the characteristic of our mind’s experience. Phenomena
emerge then change. They consistently change. The
calmer we are, the greater our concentration and the
stronger our awareness. Changes of the emergencecessation
phenomenon become clearer and clearer.
And, they are more refined than the inflate-deflate
phenomenon.

There is even more refinement. There is emptiness
that is different from the current emptiness. Although
there appears to be emptiness, but there is still the
mind that experiences the emptiness, this is called “the
consciousness that experiences”, or “the substance (dhati)
that experiences”, or “the mind that experiences”. The
mind that acts as the experiencer is not permanent, so
what do we do? We focus on the mind—it is aware
that it is unburdened, and does it cease? It emerges to
experience, then does it cease? We need to contemplate
this. If we are not aware of the emergence-cessation of
the mind that acts as the experiencer, we would go in and
attach ourselves to the mind. Then there would seem to
be only one mind that experiences every phenomenon.
What is wrong with that? What is wrong with having just
one mind that acts as the experiencer?

Whenever we attach ourselves to the mind and
claim it as ours, then it is wrong. The Buddha said that
within one snap of a finger, there are innumerable minds
that emerge. And, the mind will emerge when there
are conscious phenomena to experience. Once it has
awareness, the mind ceases. Then, the mind emerges
again as new phenomenon emerges. The mind emerges
to contemplate and be aware, then it ceases. This is called
“perpetual factors” (anantara paccaya)—perpetual
emergence without end. The mind experiences then
ceases. As this mind ceases, a new mind emerges. How is
the new mind “different” from this mind? This is where we
will experience how a “pure mind” (citta prabhassara) is.
Therefore, the contemplation of the emergence-cessation
of the physical and mental phenomena is important. We
need to practice to the point of familiarity. And, we need
to have a clear intention.

When we do walking meditation, for anyone who
still cannot abandon recitation words or are still attached
to them, you should attach the words to the phenomenon
and observe how the movement phenomenon is. As we
move our foot forward, does it move in a linear fashion,
like a wave, or are there intermittent cessations then
completely disappear? When contemplating the walking
phenomenon, sometimes it is clear as we lift our foot,
then as we move our foot, it feels empty. Then, the
phenomenon becomes clear again as the foot touches
the ground.

Sometimes, the phenomenon is clearer as we lift
our foot, then, we should contemplate that the lifting
phenomenon ceases in this way this time, the next lifting
phenomenon ceases in that way and so forth. This is how
we should observe. After a while, if the impact point
becomes clearer, then we should contemplate that—as
the foot impacts the ground, the phenomenon ceases
this way at this time, then it ceases that way at another
time. If the lifting is not clear, we just observe the impact
point—how it ceases? It scatters away, it fades away, or
it feels like you are stepping onto clouds, then scatter
away. This is how we experience the emergence-cessation
phenomenon—to follow it from the very beginning
to the very end. But, we should always focus on the
clearest point at that particular moment. This is the way
to contemplate the emergence-cessation phenomenon
while doing walking meditation.

It is the same for minor bodily movements. When
we turn left, turn right—when we turn, do we observe
whether that movement has a linear characteristic or does it
have a skipping characteristic? We have observed before?
Yes? As we turn and we see the emergence-cessation
phenomenon—that skipping characteristic—that is the
emergence-cessation of the physical phenomenon. Do we
see that each movement is not singular and continuous?
Rather, it emerges and ceases at intervals. Sometimes,
it appears like slow motion pictures and sometimes it
appears like a folding fan being opened one fold at a
time. This is also experiencing the emergence-cessation
phenomenon.

If we cannot do bodily movements slowly, when
we are in a hurry, what we need to do is to focus on
the impact point or the touching point—to see how the
phenomenon ceases once it touches the impact point.
When we are just moving, we may only feel the lightness.
But, as we wilfully contemplate, we will notice the impact
phenomenon. After the impact, does the phenomenon
scatter out or does it vanish immediately? This is the
emergence-cessation phenomenon that occurs when we
are impacted by any phenomenon.

This is no different from when our foot touches
the floor—as it touches, what is the phenomenon that
emerges? As we are moving, the impact may not be so
apparent, if we need to do things quickly. But, if we
have time, we could patiently observe then it would be
clear. There are two ways to contemplate. If we have
time, we should observe and experience in a refined
way. But, if we do not have time and need to do things
quickly, we need to have the awareness to experience
clearly the phenomenon that emerges. Then, we should
omit recitation words for the time being, or we should
use the words that are briefest. That is, if we think this is
correct—just one word “touch”—do not add other words.
Even with only two words, it will be too slow.

Furthermore, to be able to contemplate minor
bodily movements, our awareness must be bigger and
wider than our body. Observe—if we make our mind or
our awareness wider than our body, when we move—can
we feel it straight away? Yes. We can feel quicker as the
movements are being perceived by our awareness, and
we do not have to chase after it. We will feel it straight
away. Here, the awareness is quick because it is big.
All movements are safeguarded and we will be aware
promptly. Therefore, no matter how quick, we all can do
it. The key is simply to know the principle. If you have
any questions on this, you could ask tomorrow.

When contemplating phenomena, another thing we
should examine is that we must know the objective of why
we practice vipassana, why we cultivate mindfulness.
Therefore, whatever phenomena emerge—whether
mental or physical—our duty is to have the awareness to
experience how they emerge and cease. We contemplate
the Trilaksana of the physical and mental phenomena in
order to not be attached to them, in order to extinguish
sufferings. But, one thing that is missing is our intention.
We are here to contemplate the extinguishment of
sufferings but when the feeling of uneasiness occurs,
we tend to forget. And, we do not contemplate how that
uneasiness ceases; we do not know how to resolve it. We
only know that we are dissatisfied.

Physical sensations that emerge—whether
caused by illnesses or by the natural conditions of the
sensations—we need to wilfully contemplate. When we
have a fever, we need to have the awareness to separate
our mind from the fever symptoms. Is our mind sad? This
is what we need to practice, as time goes by so that we
(Translator’s note: Our mind) need not suffer with the
illness. But, of course, we need to seek a cure, to take
medicines. When we have a fever, we do not just endure
and endure, without seeking a cure. But, we have the
awareness to contemplate and to fight—if our mind is
really strong, some illness would be overcome. But, we
need to examine whether we are capable of fighting.

But, if sensations emerge, as mentioned before,
sometimes in our sitting posture—we try to tense up our
body too much. We sit up straight, but the back caves
in, so we try to support that until we have a backache.
And, our back is tensed up in a line up to our shoulders.
But, if our back is lifted slightly, it would not cave in
and sensations (ache and pain) would be slow to emerge.
Therefore, when we have some aches and pains, consider
this. But, the best thing is to sit on a hard floor then our
body will be still and does not cave in. And, when it
does not cave in, the backache will be lessened—this
is the principle. Observe—anyone who suffers from
backache, when you sit on soft cushions, you will need
more strength because your body will tense up more than
usual.

Today before we finish, let us spread our lovingkindness.
Every day we make merits here. How are we
making merits? They come from our practicing vipassana.
Merits gained through meditation (bhavanamaya) have
a lot of benefits. Why? Because our mind is free from
defilements or it is a resplendent mind. This wholesome
mind is very meritorious—whatever we wish, whoever
we wish to share with—our father, mother, relatives,
siblings—they will receive. It is said that—if we wish our
father, mother, and siblings to receive merits, we should
practice samadha (tranquility) and vipassana (insight)
meditation.

Therefore, now that we have practiced here for
three days and our mind is currently calm and currently
good, we should spread our loving- kindness. We should
focus and resolve to spread loving-kindness to our
benefactors. If anyone feel that their mind lack strength,
or weak and void, then try to recall the merit that we have
made. Think about the happiness and good feelings that
we had (Translator’s note: From making merits)—and
fill those feelings into our physical body, into our mind,
until the mind is full. Then we can spread this happiness
to others—our mind must be happy.

In order to spread our merits to others, our mind
must first be meritorious—full of merits. We increase
these merits until they overflow, then we spread them
without limits. We resolve that these merits should go
to all of our benefactors. And, we wish that they rejoice
with us, be they celestial beings or holy beings, whether
here or elsewhere—we wish that they receive the merits
that we have made. If they are currently suffering, we
wish that they would soon be free from sufferings. If
they are already happy, we wish that their happiness
would grow.

Finally, may the benefits of the merits that we
have made and are making—including alms-giving
and maintaining Buddhist precepts—become penance,
strength and condition for all practitioners to receive
happiness and progress. May all of your wishes come
true.


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To Wilfully Contemplate with Non-self and Minor Bodily Movements

Dhamma greetings to all practitioners. Today is
the fourth day of our vipassana practice. I am glad that
everyone is still here. I am even gladder that everyone
is making progress. Now we are able to relate our
vipassana experience well. Well in what way? In the
sense that we are able to describe the emergence-cessation
phenomenon, to describe changes in the phenomena
and the natural conditions that emerge, clearly. Another
question that we practitioners should know or should
examine is to know exactly why we practice vipassana.

The way to contemplate—as I have taught since
day one—is to take the feeling of “us” out off our body.
Extinguish the feeling of “us”. This is important—we
must contemplate all phenomena with a sense of “nonself”,
or with an unburdened mind. How good does this
feel? We must be able to tell ourselves how it is good.
That is one thing. The way to examine whether there is
still self or non-self is to observe the phenomenon that
emerges. For example, as we experience the inflatedeflate
phenomenon—that phenomenon and that mind
that experiences—are they one of the same or are they
different? When we sit, the body that sits and the mind
that experiences—are they one of the same or are they
different? This is how we observe.

Try to practice along as I speak. As we contemplate
in this way, how is our mind? Start by observing whether
the mind that experiences and the body that sits here—are
they one of the same or separate? Once that is observed,
see whether the mind that experiences and the arms—
are they one of the same or separate? Separate. Every
time we see that they are separate, how is our mind? It
is unburdened. This is what guarantees itself. That is,
when we see it this way, how is our mind? Not what do
we think? This is different. When we see it this way,
what we think is different from what we feel. This is the
result.

Observe further. When we think about our face,
the mind that experiences and the face—are they one
of the same or separate? They are separate. Another
guarantor—observe this, when we see them as separate,
how does it feel around our face? Does it feel heavy or
light? The mind that experiences—does it feel heavy or
light? If feels light, correct? The mind that experiences,
which is light, is called the characteristics of the state of
the mind. Now, in our body that we claim to be ours—our
hair, our eyes, our ears, our nose, our teeth, our skin, our
flesh—observe whether the corporeality and the mind
that experiences—are they one of the same or separate?

As we continuously observe this way, we will be
aware that our mind and these phenomena are always
separate. Observe what our state of mind is. This is
the separation of the physical and mental phenomena.
The mind that experiences is a mental phenomenon.
Hair, nail, skin, flesh—they are physical phenomena.
When we contemplate this way, we will see clearly.
And, furthermore, when we contemplate, the mind that
experiences—does it claim to be “us”? No. And, the body
that sits here, does it claim to be “us”?

Why do we need to ask this question? Because
without asking ourselves, we will understand and think
(Translator’s note: Incorrectly) that every experience
is “ours” every time. Because we think that the mind
that experiences is us—this is where we claim the mind
to be ours. The one that acts as the experiencer is us
because if there is no us, who is the experiencer? But,
even without us, there are still experiences, correct? This
is because the mind, by nature, acts as the experiencer
of all phenomena. Experience by sight is called jakku
vinnana; experience by the body—senses of coldness,
hotness, softness, hardness, tenseness—are called Gaya
vinnana. Therefore, vinnana is the mind that acts as the
experiencer.

The mind that acts as the experiencer experiences
naturally according to causes and conditions. This
mind that acts as the experiencer does not refuse any
phenomena. It experiences everything that occurs both
good and bad, regardless of whatever apertures these
phenomena emerge from. Depending on the strength
of these phenomena—if the phenomenon is powerful,
it could drive our mind to go and experience it. If the
phenomenon is weak, it would dissipate and be ignored.
When there are two phenomena, whichever is more
powerful, it will drive our mind to experience it. That is
the nature of the mind.

To contemplate whether the mind and the
phenomena are one of the same or separate, this has
another benefit. That is, we will know whether the
phenomena that we experience, that impact our six
apertures—do we experience with a sense of “self”
or experience with awareness. If we experience with
awareness or experience without a sense of “self”, then,
could these phenomena strain our mind? Could they
cause us sufferings? This is what guarantees itself. We
practice vipassana in order to know how the mind is as
it experiences all the phenomena that emerge. How are
they related? How do they act as causes and conditions
of each other? Not that everything is ours—the eyes are
ours, the ears are ours, the sounds that we hear belong to
others, correct? But, when we hear sound, we say: “We
hear”.

The sense of “self” obscures the truth, it is a
misunderstanding. Why do we think that they are “us”?
This is called “ignorance”. This is called “foolishness”.
Even worse, it can be called “delusion” (avijja). In
reality, this is all caused by our ignorance, our lack
of understanding. Why do we not understand? This
is because we rarely observe. We do not contemplate
according to reality. We contemplate using deduction,
not using observation and experience. To contemplate
according to reality is called “Dhamma Investigation”
(Dhamma Vijaya).

As we see the natural conditions of reality here—
how do we feel? In the old days, they used the phrase:
“How do you understand this question?” Is the physical
body permanent or impermanent? Does the physical body
claim itself be “us”? Is the physical body material (atta)
or non-material (anatta)? Non-self in the sense of there
is no “us”. There is no “us” means there is no materiality
(atta), no self. We still use the word “us” but we need
to switch between supposed conventions (sommuti) and
the truth.

The nature of the mind—is it stationary and
always resides inside, or can it move around? This mind
is not always inside our body, right? The mind goes to
experience all phenomena that emerge. The nature of the
mind is to act as the experiencer of conscious phenomena.
For example, as you look at me, your mind moves to me,
experiences around me, knows what I am doing, correct?
But, when you focus back to your sitting body, the mind
moves quickly back into the body. When you look at me
again, the mind moves to me. The mind does not reside
in the body but reside wherever the phenomena emerge.

Therefore, when we contemplate our mind and
move it to our hands, our arms, or our brain, we are
actually practicing vipassana. In the future, we will
become experts at placing our awareness. When we
contemplate a phenomenon, where do we place our
awareness? Do we place it outside of the phenomenon,
or inside it? We are the one who determines. Now, try
this—when we look, instead of moving our mind to be
at the same place as the object, if we place our mind
around here, how does it feel? This is the placement of
our awareness, our mind.

Normally, whatever we see, our mind moves to
be attached to that object, correct? The mind will move
to hit that object. Now, when we look at an object, the
mind that is attached to the object and the mind in front
of us—how are they different? (A practitioner answers:
The mind in front of us is clearer). Which one feels more
comfortable? (A practitioner answers: The mind in front
of us). Residing outside is more comfortable. Here, when
the mind experiences any conscious phenomenon, we will
pull that phenomenon into our mind. Or, do we extinguish
that phenomenon outside there? It is said that if it emerges
there, it should cease there. (Translator’s note: Referring
to the phenomenon) But, for us, it emerges there but
always ceases here. As we experience it, it immediately
impacts our mind. Then we complain: “It is heavy.”
If the phenomenon is powerful, as we experience it, it
immediately hits our mind—we feel colicky, cramped
and unable to breathe. Why? This is because we pull that
phenomenon inside.

Now, as I said to move our mind and to make our
mind wider than our body. Try it. What are the benefits
of making our mind wider than our body? This needs to
be experimented. Now, make our mind wider than our
body, encompass our body, and observe the phenomenon
that emerges—does it get to the body or does it stay in
an empty space? The sound that we hear, does it get
into the ears or does it stay in an empty space? Let the
mind encompass the body widely, not narrowly, make it
comfortable. How does it feel? (A practitioner answers:
It stays outside). When we experience this, does it get to
the mind? No, correct. Does defilement occur? This is
what we must observe. Practitioners must observe, not
just believe. We must wilfully contemplate, we must
observe well. We cannot think something is good or not
good just because we are told so.

We must analyze and observe—what are the
benefits? The things we do—are they good or not good,
and how? We must be able to answer ourselves. That
is why I have told you to be aware that if we practice
vipassana, what do we get? We do not need others to tell
us that we are getting this and that. I also get something
by being glad that you practice vipassana well. When I
tell you that you practice well, you are unsure in what
way. This is not acceptable. Therefore, we need to
observe ourselves. By practicing to be aware of the sense
of “non-self”, that is the way to detach from ego (atta).
We do not have to think that “this is not ours, or this
is not us”. We only need to observe whether there is a
sense of “self” or not. As we hear sound, try to observe
whether “we” are the hearer or whether the mind is just
the experiencer. Observe in this manner continuously for
every phenomenon.

It is the same for minor bodily movements. In
order to contemplate all minor bodily movements well
and in a timely manner, observe that if our awareness
is narrow, can we contemplate the phenomena in a
timely manner? No. When our awareness is narrow, it
is weak and the concentration will be weak also. If our
awareness is wide, our awareness is big, our mind would
be powerful. Where within the awareness do we consider
big? Awareness is a mind that is alert, a mind that is
powerful, and a mind that is wider than the body. Try it.
Let the awareness, the mind that is powerful to be wider
than the body. Observe—as we move, do we feel it? Try
it. As we move our hand, just before we begin to move
it—do we feel it first? We need to have the intention to
know what we are moving.

Do we detect—feel slightly—just before moving,
just before blinking, just before opening our mouth. Do
we detect that the mind first gives an order. Yes? This
is what we must observe. As we observe this way, it
is called observing tonjit (the initial mind), it is called
contemplating the tonjit. Before shifting, before speaking,
before moving—do we first feel it? It cannot be expressed
into words, because the mind is extremely quick.

Now, in order to make our mind quicker, our mind
needs to be bigger and wider than the body. As we move,
we can feel it. Try moving, we will feel straight away
wave-like movements or linear movements or they may be
halting or there could be coldness moving through, softly,
or a series of small shimmering. We can feel them—
they are natural conditions or conscious phenomena
that emerge. We contemplate these phenomena. When
we contemplate the phenomena of the minor bodily
movements—as we are about to pick up something,
about to touch something, about to move—we observe
all these. Similarly, when we prostrate, according to the
Four Foundation of Mindfulness (Satiphattana 4)—how
do we do it? We need to have the awareness to follow
the phenomena and observe what the phenomena of our
prostrating are. Does it move in a linear manner, in a
halting manner, does it emerge then cease quickly and
continuously or does it emerge then cease then totally
disappear? It all depends on how the phenomena emerge
and the strength of our awareness is at the time.

When we prostrate, we can contemplate. Similarly,
when we walk, we can contemplate. When we do
meditative walking or when we walk normally to do any
business, as we step—step left, right, left, right—we have
the awareness to observe the tonjit. To know just before
we lift each foot—to be aware of the phenomenon before
each foot is lifted. This is to observe tonjit—tonjit and
phenomenon come together. As we are aware of tonjit,
as we are aware before we lift each foot, then what do we
contemplate next? We then contemplate the phenomena,
as we feel before we lift each foot, after the awareness,
then the phenomena that follow the foot-lifting, the
movement forward—how do we observe?

As mentioned before, we need to observe the
movement forward has what characteristics. When we
move each foot, what are the phenomena? It is stable or
shaky, or does it have a linear phenomenon, or does it
move haltingly? These are the phenomena that we should
observe for both walking as a minor bodily movement and
for meditative walking. But, when we walk as a minor
bodily movement, we need to walk faster than when we
do meditative walking. That is we need to walk normally.
Now, how do we observe, where do we contemplate?
Try to be aware that as we move each foot, between
lifting the foot and touching the floor, the point of impact
and the lifting phenomenon—which one is clearer?
We should observe the most apparent phenomenon
then our awareness would be in the present.

The phenomena that emerge at that time, if we
observe the clearest point, then our mind would be
in the present. The clearest point can be the point of
lifting the foot or the point of impact. Whether we use
recitation words or not, if we are fully aware of lifting
each foot, then the foot touching the ground, then we
further observe—at the point of impact, what is the
phenomenon? How does it cease? For example, after
the impact, it spreads out or it suddenly vanishes, or it
scatters out in a wave-like manner or it scatters out like
dust? This all depends; some may not see these, while
others may have seen them before. If we could observe
the emergence-cessation phenomenon, then we could
contemplate in a timely manner. We would have the
awareness to continuously be in the present. Therefore,
the mind is alert or the awareness would be able to follow
the phenomena in a timely manner. This is to contemplate
the minor bodily movements.

Now, there are many phenomena in the minor
bodily movements. The principles are simple. When we
walk, we are aware of the lifting point and the impact
point. When we touch or pick something up, when we
move our hand—before we move it—do we feel it?
Yes. Then, the hand moves, how do we experience? We
experience along with the phenomenon and the hand—
as we experience it—what are the characteristics of the
movements? Do they move in bulk, like small strands,
transparent, or shadowy? And, at the point of touch, how
does it cease? It flashes and disappears immediately or
it flashes slightly and ceases? This is the contemplation
of minor bodily movements.

When we raise (Translator’s note: Our hand), we
do it slowly. Why? This is so that we have the awareness
in the present. Some practitioners ask: “When we go
back home, what could we do?” At home, we cannot
do things slowly. At home, things are not the same as
here. We do not have time to be slow. We have to hurry.
When we cultivate awareness, regardless of movements,
we need to have the awareness—fast or slow—we need
to have the awareness. As mentioned, we are here; we
need to practice to act in a timely manner. Phenomena are
quick—such as the emergence-cessation phenomenon.
When we walk and the continuity (santati) of the physical
phenomenon ceases—“peep, peep, peep, peep”—we
need to be able to experience these phenomena in a timely
manner. Our awareness will be a lot quicker in order to
experience the phenomenon. “Wap, wap, wap”—that is
its cessation phenomenon.

The faster the emergence-cessation phenomenon,
the faster we experience it. This will make our awareness
much faster. Now, when we move outside, when we go
home—when we pick up anything—it will be faster. We
will be immediately aware of the phenomenon that goes
“woop, woop, woop”. We will be much faster. And, if
we make our awareness bigger than our body, it would
be even quicker. Our mind will give order quickly and
calmly. If we contemplate without the sense of “self”,
with an awareness of whether there is or there is no “us”,
and experience how it emerges and ceases. Then, this
will be very useful. But, in here, do we need to do that?
We do not have to be so fast. Moving slowly is okay. If
we move too quickly, it may seem strange.

Actually, young male practitioners ask me—Arjan,
can we practice in a quick manner? Yes. But, we need to
be fast with an awareness, which will lead to calmness.
If we are fast without awareness, then things would be
chaotic. In this place, we walk in a calm and composed
manner. Furthermore, when we walk slowly, it is called:
“Practicing to restrain the body”. By restraining our body,
we reduce our conscious phenomena to be as little as
possible. This is to allow our awareness to contemplate
the major phenomena, the fewer the major phenomena,
the easier our awareness can contemplate. For example,
when we do walking meditation, why do we need to grasp
our hands together? Because, if we swing our arms, how
many phenomena are there? There would be left foot,
right foot, left arm, right arm—all moving around. But,
when we grasp our hands together, the phenomena are
reduced to left-right, left-right. Then, there are also the
phenomena of lifting the foot, moving the foot forward,
stepping the foot down—even these are already plenty.

As mentioned before, restraining our body is a
good thing. If we want to place our mind tightly with
the phenomena, we need to have a clear target. When
we contemplate the walking phenomenon, if the impact
point is clear, then focus on the impact point—this time
it impacts and ceases in this way, how does it impact
and cease the next time, and the next time. Focus there
because the phenomenon there is clearest. When we step
forward and there is only emptiness, do not be worried.
The phenomenon is gone. If it becomes clear only at the
impact point, then focus on the impact point. But, if the
impact point is not clear, and it is clear as we lift our
foot—the impact point is too vague—then we focus on
lifting, lifting, lifting…we need to be in time for each
lifting of the foot and see how they cease. The foot lifts
and how does it cease? This is the way to contemplate
the emergence-cessation phenomenon while walking.

Within minor bodily movements, there are
numerous phenomena. For example, when we wash
our face, observe when we use our hands to touch our
face—what are we touching? Are we touching the face,
or touching the emptiness? The touching phenomenon
on our face—is it strand-like or is it sheet-like similar
to our palm—or is the touching happen only at certain
points? These are the characteristics of the emergencecessation
phenomenon that we can observe. When we
brush our teeth then shake our toothbrush, observe how
each shake ceases. Does it flash then disappear, flash
then disappear, or does it move continuously? These are
the minor bodily movements that we can contemplate.

When water touches our face, it feels cold. As
the coldness emerges, how does it disappear, how does
it cease? Does the coldness feel like a sheet or does it
feel prickly? These are all phenomena within the minor
bodily movements that we need to contemplate, if we
want our awareness to be continuously present. Now,
when we eat, what is the target for contemplation? When
we contemplate while we chew, we do it to place our
awareness at the same place as the chewing phenomenon
only? Or, do we do it so that we will not be attached to the
food flavor? So that we will not be attached to the flavor,
correct? Therefore, whatever food is provided, we will
not have the urge to complain. Any food is okay. Bland
is okay. Does bland food have any flavor? (A practitioner
answers: No). Are you sure? If there is no flavor, how
do you know that it is bland?

Similarly, when we experience emptiness and we
say there is nothing. In reality, there is emptiness, correct?
When our mind is empty, we say our mind has nothing at
all. The reason we say there is nothing is because there
are no phenomena to burden it. This is what we overlook,
correct? This is the real natural conditions that emerge.
If we used to be able to contemplate the inflate-deflate
phenomenon, then we would feel that the inflate-deflate
is gone, there is nothing to contemplate—only emptiness.
This emptiness is a phenomenon of the mind. We need
to contemplate in what way is it empty? How did the
inflate-deflate cease? There is nothing but the mind
that experiences. When there is nothing, but the mind
that experiences—that is a genuine natural condition.
Therefore, we need to observe carefully—we think that
we are free from phenomenon, free from suffering, and
the mind is free from experiencing. The mind can only be
free from experiencing when it is in a trance, or asleep.
Whenever we come to, we will immediately experience.
As we move, our mind experiences immediately. This is
a characteristic of the mind.

As mentioned before, in order not to be attached
to food flavor, there is another thing—the flavor that
emerges—corporeality, sound, smell, flavor, touch,
mind-object (dhammarom), they are all impermanent. We
should not be attached to flavor. When the flavor is not
to our satisfaction, we feel agitated. Our mind is agitated.
This is not that the food is not suitable for the body; it
is the flavor not being right for the mind’s satisfaction.
This is different. The flavor not pleasing to the mind and
the food not suitable for the body are different. We need
to observe carefully. Do we want to choose the mind’s
satisfaction or the body’s suitability? When the flavor is
not to our mind’s satisfaction, our mind is agitated. What
causes the agitation of the mind? It is dissatisfaction.
Dissatisfaction is patigha (Translator’s note: Broad
feelings of dissatisfaction, agitation and unhappiness).
What is patigha? It is defilement. Defilement emerges:
“I don’t like.”

Therefore, the way to contemplate: “How do I
overcome this feeling of dislike?” “How do I relinquish
the feeling of dislike?” As mentioned before, we need to
have the awareness to contemplate—we do not like, we
do not like. Or, we should remove the feeling of “us”.
We should create emptiness. Place the phenomena of
sourness, blandness into an empty space, and try. This
morning a practitioner tried placing a feeling of emptiness
in the area from the mouth down to the neck. See when
we swallow our saliva—where does the saliva go? It goes
into an empty space. Similarly, when we chew food, we
chew in an empty space and let the food move into an
empty space. See how it feels.

Try it—tomorrow. We cannot do today. It is past the
time. But, there are still pana drinks (Translator’s note:
Drinks that could be consumed by monks after midday)
and water. When we swallow, take the unburdened mind
and place it at the mouth and the neck. See whether the
liquid flow into an empty space. Once it flows down,
how does it cease? Slowly fade away or slowly disappear
in the empty space? When we contemplate this way,
observe how the feelings of gladness and satisfaction
are in this phenomenon. Are there any feelings of
dissatisfaction in this phenomenon emerging? This is the
way to contemplate how to experience the tastes, without
defilements emerging.

In addition to knowing the benefits of the things
that we consume, we should also experience without
attachment to flavor. We need to know what the flavor
is—sour, sweet, savory or salty. By nature, the tongue
will know the flavor, because its role is to experience
taste. The tongue does not refuse flavor—put in a bitter
thing, it would pronounce bitterness. Put in a sweet thing,
it would pronounce sweetness. Like or dislike is another
matter, but the tongue acts as the experiencer of taste. The
key is whether the flavor causes defilements to emerge.

Now, when we say: “Flavor is not permanent”,
have we ever observed how it is impermanent? If the
flavor is permanent, it would be banal, correct? Just
thinking about it, it would feel banal. When we see oily
food, just the smell will feel banal. Why? This is because
the smell reminds us of the banal taste. Have we ever
noticed—even our most favorite flavor—if it stays in our
mouth for ten minutes without fading, the taste would
become banal. If desserts are permanently sweet, we
would not feel good. Observe that desserts or food that
we like, once we swallow it, the taste is gone. Then we
add more, then we swallow, then we add more. This is to
preserve the delicious taste, otherwise it will turn banal.
This is impermanence.

If we observe carefully, we will find that the taste
of the food that emerges—if we have the awareness to
see and if we do not add new food—it would gradually
fade away and cease also. This is to contemplate the
impermanence of taste. But, why do we need to see
this impermanence? Here, we need to contemplate the
impermanence of taste, in order not to be attached to it.
When we see that the taste exists in an empty space and
we are not attached to it, then what? Then, we do not need
to consistently take it. We become aware of it and let it go.
We will contemplate whether taking it provides benefits
or harm—this is the contemplation of food flavor.

Now, when we contemplate the flavor of the
food—the impermanence is the emergence-cessation of
the taste. In a more refined sense, the taste that emerges,
be it sour, sweet, savory, or salty—when the sweetness
emerges, that sweetness is lumpy or does it emerge-cease
consistently? Now, this is difficult to experience because
the phenomenon passes quickly and is very refined. But,
the best way to contemplate the emergence-cessation
phenomenon and the best way to have the awareness
in the present while we are eating is to contemplate our
chewing phenomenon.

As we chew each mouthful, how does each impact
cease? Better still, let our awareness be present at the
impact point during the chewing. As we chew each
mouthful, does the chewing impact our mind and our
sense? This is very refined and our awareness must be in
the present. If the chewing impacts our mind, if it impacts
our sense, once it impacts, does it cease? What happens
after it ceases? How is the new mind that emerges? As we
swallow, just follow the phenomenon of swallowing. Do
we swallow into an empty space? Once it is gone, does
the mind that experiences also ceases? This is the way
to contemplate minor bodily movements in an unusual
way, in a refined way.

If we want our awareness to have continuity, we
would need to contemplate in this way. When the mind
is placed within the phenomenon of chewing where the
teeth impact each other and cease, then emerge again,
observe one thing—when we chew, do we have a sense
of self? Do we chew with or without the sense of self?
Are we the experiencer of the chewing phenomenon—or
is our awareness the experiencer? Chew, chew, chew,
cease, cease, cease.

Now, observe further—when our awareness is
in the present, does desire emerge? Does satisfaction
or dissatisfaction emerge when we experience the
emergence-cessation phenomenon of chewing? The mind
that experiences without the feeling of self is called an
equanimity mind—without gladness, without satisfaction,
without refusal of natural conditions. This middle path
(majjhima) is an Abyakata Dhamma. The mind is neutral,
not swayed by the phenomena that emerge. The mind
only experiences. Therefore, the mind at that moment
has no greed, anger, delusion. That mind is wholesome.
This is what we must observe, to know why we practice
vipassana.

For each meditation session, in each day, when
we finish—observe that once the emergence-cessation
phenomenon ceases, how is our state of mind? After
we have walked one session, when we see the walking
phenomenon emerges and ceases in this way, when we
stop walking, immediately observe how our state of mind
is. Observe the corporeality, how is its phenomenon?
As we turn left, turn right, observe that when we turn,
does it have a characteristic like strands or does it cease
at intervals? This is the way to observe the details of
the minor bodily movements. If we wish to contemplate
in a very refined manner, this is what we need to do.
The question is: “Is that necessary?” Yes, practitioners
should continuously cultivate mindfulness if we wish
our awareness to be acute.

As our mind becomes lighter, more alert and
more refreshed—the mind is light, the body is light—is
our awareness slow or quick? It is quick automatically,
correct? Whatever we see, we can feel straightaway.
As we experience, what is our mind experiencing? We
must be aware that we are experiencing that. This is to
experience with awareness. As mentioned before, we
can move the location of our mind. When you see me,
your mind comes to me. As sensation emerges, the mind
moves to sensation. As we feel cold, the mind moves
there. This is what we must observe. The feelings of
coldness, hotness, softness, hardness, tautness are all
characteristics of natural elements (dhata) that emerge
when we practice vipassana.

For some, as the hotness emerges, it radiates out.
The point to observe is when this hotness emerges—and
we use our awareness to experience it—does the hotness
accumulate and becomes bigger, or does it emerge at
one point and spread out, does the hotness heats up or
does it gradually fade away? This is the thing that we
must observe—as the hotness emerges, how does it
cease? It exists then expires; it emerges then ceases; it
exists then disappears. This is the impermanence of the
natural elements. The coldness that emerges is the same.
We should experience in the same way—as the coldness
emerges, how does it change? This is the characteristic
of the natural elements that emerge.

When we sit to practice vipassana, if we feel that
our body is swaying—what should we do? Sometimes,
as we sit, we feel like swaying backward like we are
about to fall over. When this happens, we should order
it to stop, not follow through. As we order our mind to
stop, it will stop. As we stop at each moment and as we
sway again then we order it to stop again—our mind will
become alert. These phenomena emerge from the power
of concentration. As we order our body to be upright,
then the emergence-cessation phenomenon will become
clearer. And, whenever any phenomenon emerges clearly,
just experience its emergence-cessation.

And, if there is a shaking phenomenon, what
should we do? Can we order it (to stop)? Try it. Do
we feel shaking throughout the body or just have the
feeling of shaking sensation? If we are shaking all over,
it is okay to open our eyes to check, so that our friends
would not be alarmed. But, if the feeling of shaking is
just a sensation inside, as soon as the awareness is clear,
the shaking will stop. It is a natural condition—there
is no need to be worried. Some people sit and practice
vipassana as though they are suffering from kamma
consequences (vipaka). A practitioner who is a monk
once told me that, as he sat and practiced vipassana, he
would lower himself then extend his neck like a turtle.
Then, immediately, he received a mental image of him
killing a turtle while he was a layman. So, he then spread
his loving-kindness (Translator’s note: To that turtle).
After that, the phenomenon disappeared. This is what
he told me.

But these phenomena that emerge, if we have the
awareness to contemplate clearly—as soon as we have
the awareness, they will cease. This is the contemplation
of conscious phenomena that emerge. As mentioned
before, every phenomenon that emerges for our mind
to experience, they are all natural conditions. They
demonstrate the nature of the physical and mental
phenomena, the body and mind of ours, at present. Every
phenomenon that we experience, be it coldness, hotness,
softness, hardness, tautness, heaviness, lightness, pain, ache,
numbness or itchiness—these are all natural conditions.
Why are they called “natural conditions”? This is
because they are the nature of the physical and mental
phenomena—they are conditions that emerge naturally.

But, as the natural conditions emerge, we start
to fabricate. What is “fabrication”? It is to imagine, to
create. If we want to know whether we are fabricating,
we should examine. Move inside to experience clearly
whether we are just thinking or whether we are really
experiencing. For example, the mind that feels unburdened
and light, are we just thinking that it is unburdened? Move
inside to observe—are we really unburdened? Are we
really light? Do not fool ourselves because we are the
practitioners. The benefits happen to us, not to anyone
else. We need to be honest with ourselves whether the
things that we are experiencing are really happening to
us at that time.

We can ask: “Is it real or unreal?” When we feel
cold—is it really cold? It is really cold. Is this real or
unreal? Real, correct? But, when we observe again, now
it is gone. So, is this real? It is real, but it does not exist
for a long time because of the impermanence of the mind.
Cold is cold. Hot is hot. Painful is painful. Is it real or
unreal? The pain is so intense that we grimace—we still
feel that it is unreal? If the pain is unreal, there is no need
to grimace to that extent. Why do we need to fake pain?
This is the natural conditions that emerge.

And, when we ask: “Is the thing that we see
real?” When it ceases, try to do it again. See whether
the same thing recur? That is the natural conditions that
emerge—if they are real, we could do it. But, we cannot
imagine. No matter how hard we imagine, it will not be.
No matter how hard we imagine, we will not be able to
find it. But, when we contemplate, it will emerge. We can
remember—remember that we were happy, remember
that we felt light, but it is light now, correct? When we
listen here, we forget to look at our own mind, correct?
We are too engrossed in the listening, not knowing how
our mind is.

One more thing, when we listen to dhamma,
observe how our mind feels? (A practitioner answers:
It feels joyful and happy). When we listen to music, we
are also happy and joyful, correct? The thing we need
to observe is—when we listen (Translator’s note: To
dhamma) and we understand, observe our mind—in
addition to being joyful, in addition to being happy,
how do we feel? (A practitioner answers: Cool, alert).
Observe a little more—the mind that is alert has what
characteristics?

When we listen to something and understand, our
mind is dim or bright? When we listen and understand,
we feel that our eyes are illuminated. Have we ever
heard of this phrase: “We now understand—our eyes
are illuminated”? I am amazed at the use of language
of the people from the past generations. When someone
has awareness, his eyes are illuminated. Consider
this—when we have anger, is our mind bright or dark?
Have we ever observed this? It feels opaque, heavy and
tight. But, as soon as we have awareness, it relaxes and
it begins to brighten up. I always say that people in the
past generations used languages that conform to the
phenomena. When they said—his eyes are illuminated,
that he now understands—that is the characteristics of
the mind that emerge.

Therefore, when we listen to dhamma, once
we understand, we should memorize. Listen a lot and
memorize as much as we need to use. When we listen
to dhamma, we should check back to see which words
match our natural conditions. Which words we previously
did not understand but are beginning to understand and
they enabled us to continue to practice vipassana. This
is important, so that our vipassana practice can progress.
After we listen to dhamma, we can use it to improve our
vipassana practice. We should not listen to dhamma and
then say it is good but continue to practice vipassana
in the same way, without any progress. When we listen
to dhamma for the purpose of advancing our vipassana
practice, we need to memorize what the things we need
to do next are.

When I say this way, do not believe that I have
forgotten the vipassana homework that I gave this
morning. In the evening, I am talking about dhamma in
a more general sense. This is so that you can take it and
use it in your vipassana practice. But, the important thing
is, we must do (Translator’s note: Practice vipassana).
This morning, after you have related your vipassana
experiences, do you remember what vipassana homework
I gave? Yes. Do you remember what you need to add?
I do remember what I told you to add. For some, I told
you to observe whether your mind ceases (Translator’s
note: Along with the phenomena). For some, I told you
to add alertness. For some, I told you to add calmness—
not calmness in the sense of indifference. But, add
calmness to raise concentration, to make our mind more
powerful. For some, I told you to observe what is inside
the emptiness, and how they change. When I see your
face, I remember the vipassana homework I gave.

I ask you to relate your natural conditions
extensively, so you will know how to do it. Over the past
three or four days, you have made progress. Therefore,
today I stress two important focal points for you to
contemplate. Firstly, when we contemplate conscious
phenomena, do we do it with or without “self”? Secondly,
in order to experience clearly, every time we should
observe whether our mind that experiences and the
conscious phenomena—are they one of the same or are
they separate? Here, we need to have the intention to
observe, not just to look at it and let it pass.

As we experience new phenomena, our state
of mind will change and is different. Therefore, we
should consistently contemplate our sense of non-self.
When new conscious phenomena emerge—whether in
our body or in our mind—we will know whether these
phenomena arise from our mind’s fabrication, from our
own unwholesome mind, or from the outside.

One more thing, when contemplating our bodily
movements, we should use our tonjit and minor bodily
movements. When we start to practice vipassana, we
may begin by observing the action of picking up a spoon.
Each time we pick up a spoon, each time we scoop up
food, we should notice how they cease. Each mouthful
that we chew, how does it cease? Each time our hand
touches the glass, what are the phenomena that emerge
and how do they cease? Anyone who could contemplate
in an even more refined way would be considered very
good. These two focal points mentioned today are to
contemplate the sense of “non-self” and to contemplate
minor bodily movements.

This is an appropriate time for me to conclude my
dhamma lecture. Before we leave, let us spread lovingkindness
for a few minutes. Let our mind be empty
and unburdened, humbly recall the merits that we have
made, humbly take these merits into our body, into our
mind until they are full. Then, spread these merits out
widely with no boundary and no limits. We resolve that
these merits should go to our benefactors—be they our
parents, our teachers as well as all celestial beings here
and everywhere.

If our benefactors could receive our merits, may
they rejoice with us and our good deeds. If they are
suffering, may they soon be free from sufferings. If they
are happy, may their happiness increase. One benefit of
our spreading happiness and loving-kindness is that the
more we give, the more we receive in return. There is
nothing more special than spreading happiness and good
wishes to others—they come from extremely meritorious
mind.

Finally, may the greatness of the Buddha, Dhamma
and Sangha, and the merits that we have made, support
us to reach all of our goals until we attain nibbana.
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6.Using Dhamma Essence to Guide Our Lives

Dhamma greetings to all practitioners. Today there
seems to be fewer queries. As questions are fewer, so
will the words. I will provide some dhamma lecture. As
I was walking here, I was thinking what I could relate
to practitioners as you all appear to be progressing well
in your vipassana practice. One question practitioners
have—after practicing vipassana for a while, we are
worried about how to continue practicing after we have
gone home. Although it is not yet time, we are already
worried about the future.

When we ask what we should do after we have
already gone home, it is because we feel that this place
is suitable and conducive to vipassana practice. It is a
sappaya place, suitable for vipassana practice. We can
practice without worrying about interference from the
surroundings. How can we be sure about not having to
worry about the surroundings? It is because we respect
and honor one another. Therefore, we restrain our body,
our words, our speech and our movements. We speak in a
restrained manner—softly—so not to disturb others. We
move placidly, with awareness, so not to appear chaotic,
not to disturb other people’s sight. When we go home,
can we do it? When we go home, we have to do things
quickly so these are not possible.

We are here to train our awareness, to contemplate
dhamma. We are here to make our awareness experience—
in a timely manner—conscious phenomena that emerge.
When we are here, we make our movements slower, but
we train our awareness to be quicker. This is what we
can use when we get back home. We are here to practice
vipassana, to cultivate mindfulness, to continuously train
our awareness. If we have the awareness to continuously
contemplate our phenomena, practice until we are
adept—called “wasi”. As we move, regardless of what is
the movement, we are immediately aware. As we begin
to think, we are immediately aware that we are thinking.
As we see, we know clearly what we are seeing. Know
straightaway, feel straightaway—our mind is quick.

The difference is that here in this place to practice
vipassana, we have the intention mainly to experience
the emergence-cessation of the physical and mental
phenomena, to experience the Three Characteristics of
Being (Trilaksana). But, when we go home, do we still
need to pay attention to the Three Characteristics of
Being? Yes, but the characteristics which are descriptive
reality (banyat). For example, when we experience the
emergence-cessation phenomenon here, at present,
while we practice vipassana every day, we are actually
experiencing the Three Characteristics of Being. When we
experience the emergence-cessation of the physical and
mental phenomena, have we ever observed—what these
emergence-cessation phenomena tell us? They reflect
emergence, existence and cessation—impermanence
(anicca), sufferings (dukkha) and non-self (anatta).
They tell us that nothing stays the same, correct? They
are always changing.

Observe our state of mind, yesterday it was one
form, today it has changed to another form. How is this
different from being at home? When we wake up in the
morning, our face is smiling and bright. When we get
home in the evening, our face has changed. We only
need to understand—everything changes—and how do
we prevent our mind from suffering? This is the key
point. When we cannot tolerate changes, it is because we
believe that they should not change—only I can change,
correct? They must not change. When they change, we
suffer, we do not get what we wish for, what we hope
for. This is suffering. When we get what we wish for,
there is no suffering.

This is not to say that we should not wish for
anything. But, when we wish for anything, we need to
understand that if we do not get what we wish for, we
would not suffer. Just like practicing vipassana, we need
to have wishes. Who practices vipassana without any
wishes, without any goal? At the very least, we would
have some wants, correct? Want to be peaceful, want to
know, want to see or want to be. The key is what do we
want? This is not to say that we cannot want. If we do
not have wants, we would not be sitting here, correct? We
want to practice vipassana, we want to have awareness
and we want to have discriminative wisdom. What is
the use of having awareness, having wisdom? That is
something that we must ask ourselves. Awareness and
wisdom relate to what? They relate to infinite things.
They have enormous benefits.

When we have awareness and wisdom, we
understand that these physical and mental phenomena;
this corporeality; and this mind do not have owners. They
are forever changing, forever emerging and ceasing. They
emerge then cease, exist then disappear. When we walk,
we will observe that even one small step has periodic
emergence-cessation—it is not permanent. In that case,
what can we attach to? When we say that we are not
attached to the physical and mental phenomena, it does
not mean that we do not rely on them. The physical and
mental phenomena are our abodes, but we do not own
them. However, we always claim ownership, claim them
as ours, although we are just residents.

When asked: “Who are we?” We do not know.
We only know that there are our minds to experience.
When we are deluded and claim everything as “us”—the
eyes are us, the minds are us. But when we contemplate
wilfully, does the mind proclaim itself to be “us”? No,
it does not. It only does its duties. Think about it. When
we are deep asleep, if there are loud noises, our mind
would still awake to experience the sound. When we
cannot fall asleep, we wish to sleep but our mind does
not. This shows that the mind does not belong to us. It
does its duties, the mind is driven by natural conditions,
causes and conditions—it emerges then ceases.

Therefore, when we go home, how do we practice
vipassana? If you ask me, I will tell you to practice this
way that you practice here. So, what is this way? It is
to practice vipassana in such a way that when we go
home, we will not have sufferings. How? When we are
here practicing vipassana, contemplating the physical
and mental phenomena—we do it until we understand
that nothing belongs to us. So, when we go home, what
do we claim to be ours? This is worth pondering. When
we left home, the home is no longer ours. But, when get
back home, it becomes ours again. Strange, isn’t it?

Some are not even like that. When they left home,
the home came with them. They carried the home here
with them, walking with a heavy load. Some left the
home behind as soon as they left the place. Over these
past five days, I feel that each of you has begun to let
go, leaving the home where it is. Leave things where
they happen—give us some freedom. This is possible
because our wisdom is strong, and our awareness is
strong. We have the concentration and the awareness and
we contemplate the phenomena of our body and mind.

It is said that we are concerned only with external
phenomena—things that happen outside of our body.
We do not pay attention to ourselves, to our state of
mind. We only become aware when consequences
have occurred. We only become aware once sufferings
occur. Sometimes we carry the burden of sufferings
for a very long time, before placing it down. Often, by
the time we become aware of our sufferings, they have
already become unbearable. As mentioned before, the
Buddha’s enlightenment was about sufferings. Being
born is suffering, aging is suffering and dying is suffering.
Suffering (dukkha), the cause of suffering (samudaya),
the cessation of suffering (nirodha), in reality, are the path
leading to the cessation of suffering (magga). Sometimes
we see sufferings, but we do not pay attention to it, we
do not know it. We do not know what causes sufferings.

Sometimes we cannot distinguish between
sufferings and the problems that arise. Suffering is one
thing; problem is another thing—so we should try to
distinguish them. As mentioned, we should separate the
corporeality from the mind—to observe that they are
different and apart. We only need to observe—there is
no need to force them to be. Wisdom will arise from our
contemplation or observation of phenomena that emerge.
Here, we really understand nature and things that happen
to our lives. When practitioners ask me: “Arjan, could we
use dhamma in real lives?” My question back is: “How
is dhamma not real?”

Dhamma is truth, it is reality. This is because
dhamma happens to our lives. If dhamma is not real,
when you are suffering, you should ask yourselves—is
the suffering real or is it fake? Suffering is a natural
condition. When you feel pain while sitting to practice
vipassana—is the pain real? And, when you feel pain
at home, is it the same kind of pain? Does the pain
have the same feeling, same characteristics and same
symptom? When it is painful, do you grimace the same
way? Dhamma is real. Natural conditions are real. They
happen in our lives.

When we are happy, regardless of whether we are
sitting here or at home—is it the same happiness? When
happiness emerges, it is the same kind of happiness. The
question is what causes this happiness. Do they have the
same cause, or different? For example, when we are here,
our happiness arises from the practice of vipassana. The
cause of this happiness comes from detachment, from a
wholesome mind and from our wisdom. But, when we
are at home, our happiness is caused by other people or
other things. When people please us, we are happy. When
they displease us, we suffer. When we get what we wish
for, we are happy. When we do not, we suffer.

The practice of vipassana could be used in our
lives. Awareness is necessary for everyone. In dhamma,
awareness and wisdom are two key points. Whoever
has awareness and wisdom will have a good life. But,
whenever we lack awareness, it is not good, as sufferings
can emerge easily. And, if we do not have wisdom, we
would be stuck with the suffering for a long time. Without
awareness, without wisdom, sufferings emerge easily and
they stay with us for a long time. But, a person who has
wisdom and awareness—as soon as sufferings emerge,
he/she will extinguish it promptly. Therefore, we need
to bring awareness and wisdom into our everyday lives.
Do not separate dhamma from life, because dhamma is
life.

When we say “Contemplating Dhamma”, what
exactly are we contemplating? We contemplate the
conscious phenomena of the body and the mind, correct?
These body and mind are our lives. When we go home,
do we leave these body and mind here and assume new
ones at home? No. These are the body and mind that
go home, stay at home. We come here to develop our
awareness, our wisdom. We are here to understand the
nature of physical and mental phenomena. We rely on our
awareness, our wisdom to be free from sufferings—this
is the key.

The dhamma that we contemplate here, we see
“non-self”. We do not contemplate only the body and the
mind but all the conscious phenomena that emerge from
the six apertures: Corporeality, smell, taste, touch and
mind-object (dhammarom). Why do we use the awareness
to contemplate all the minor bodily movements? This is
so that we do not fabricate these phenomena and cause
ourselves suffering. This is so that we truly understand
natural conditions and do not claim them to be “ours”.

We see the core of dhamma, but when we go
home, we leave the core here and attach ourselves to
insignificance. Sufferings emerge because we do not
rely on the truth as our support. There are two types of
truth. Conventional truth (sammutisacca) is being human,
being us, being them, being female and being male. And,
ultimate truth (paramatthasacca) that tells us that this
body and this mind do not claim to be anyone. They only
perform their duties—the mind experiences; the body is
dictated by nature. It relies on food and air, it emerges,
exists, and ceases—from a child to an adult. It gets old
then dies—these are changes according to nature.

What truth do we use for support, so that our mind
will not suffer? Which dhamma teachings should we
think of, so that we will not suffer? It is impermanence,
correct? Contemplate about impermanence—so, be
detached, have a sense of “non-self”, and be ego-less
(anatta). Think about the sense of “non-self” regularly,
think about impermanence regularly. This is called the
“Reflection on the virtues of Dhamma” (dhammanussati).
We will understand the conditions of the reality then,
we will be detached. This is because we already see that
nothing is permanent—they emerge, exist and cease. The
physical and mental phenomena, the body and the mind
do not claim to be us—this is dhammanussati. We are
chanting dhammanussati prayer, correct? Buddhanussati,
dhammanussati, sanghanussati, punnanussati,
uppamasamanussati—there are many things for us to
reflect on.

And, whom should we think of, so that our mind
would gain strength as quickly as possible. Whom should
we think of, so that our mind would become meritorious
easily? Try it. Let our mind be empty and unburdened.
Then humbly think of the Buddha. Think of him with
faith. Do we feel that we are close or far away from the
Buddha? How do we feel? We feel close, correct? If we
just chant “Buddho, Buddho”—compared with humbly
and faithfully think about the Buddha—which moves us
closer? When we humbly think of the Buddha, correct?
This is because we do it with our heart, with respect,
with faith.

Therefore, when someone is ill, nearing his/her
final moment, he/she is told to think of the Buddha
or arahants. This is so that his/her mind would be
wholesome. When we think of the Buddha, when we
feel close to the Buddha, how does our mind feel? Good,
correct? Warm, not lonely—our mind would be bright
and strong. That is the omnipotence of the Buddha. When
we are ill, which dhamma teaching should we think of?
We should think of the Buddha, no need to think of any
dhamma teaching. This is because the Buddha is the
center of dhamma—think of him and our mind would
be happy.

When we go home, our vipassana practice is no
different. If anyone is able to separate the physical and
mental phenomena, and to make the mind empty and
unburdened—then, we could use this unburdened mind
to experience conscious phenomena. If we want our mind
to be powerful, make it empty then humbly think of the
Buddha, think of the merits we have made. Then fill them
into our mind until it is full; fill them into our body. And,
make this happy and fulfilled mind wide—wider than
this room. Then, observe whether we feel that we are
sitting here, in this position, in this building. Or, do we
feel like we are sitting in an empty space. (A practitioner
answers: Sitting in an empty space).

Now, slowly open our eyes, as we do this, observe
whether our minds are still unburdened. Yes. Make this
unburdened mind act as an experiencer; act as the one who
sees. Take this unburdened mind and place it around our
eyes—how does it feel? Does it feel heavy, light, empty
or clear? It feels light, correct? Therefore, when we look
at anything, project this light and unburdened mind to
that thing. See how it feels. This is what we could use
in our everyday lives—make the empty and unburdened
mind act as the experiencer.

When we look at an image, take our mind to that
image. But, make the mind wider than the image. How
do we feel? Do we feel heavy or light? This is different
from bringing the image into our mind. By nature, when
we see anything, when we hear anything, we tend to bring
them into our mind. When we lack awareness, we always
do this. But, if we experience by placing our mind there,
see how our mind feels. It is clear, it is aware. We need
to experience with awareness—see the phenomenon
emerges and ceases there.

Are we now more adept at removing the sense of “us”? Yes?
When we remove our sense of “us”? Yes? When we remove our
sense of "us", how does our mind feel? It feels uncluttered
and light. There is one potential problem. When we remove the
sense of “us”, we could still be attached to “he/she”. How are
we attached? We may be attached to the image or to the name?
The word attached here does not mean infatuation—totally
different. What I am referring to is when we see the
face of this person, we feel uncomfortable. When we
hear his name, we feel uneasy, we feel suffering—
unwholesomeness emerges.

Firstly, remove the sense of “us”. Once we have
done this, if we still feel disturbed, try removing the sense
of “he/she”. Try it. Think of someone you feel bad about,
but do not fabricate the story. Observe—if you hear his
name and feel uncomfortable, remove the name from his
body. How does it feel? The image of the body with the
name removed? (A practitioner answers: Still feel the
sense of dislike). Then, you are not attached to the name.
(A practitioner answers: Dislike everything about him).
Have you removed the sense of “us”? (A practitioner
answers: Not yet). You must really remove it, not just
thinking about it.

The study of dhamma is not just for the sake of
knowledge. The study of dhamma, knowledge must be
followed by real actions, for it to have benefits. Knowing
that awareness is good, but never using it—then how is
it good? Knowing that concentration is good, but never
practicing, how could you have concentration? Wanting
concentration, but never practicing vipassana; knowing
that something is good, but unable to do it. “Unable to
do it” and “not doing it” are different. Some people want
to do, but seldom do, then say they cannot do it. If we
do it, but unable to, then we would know why we could
not do it.

There are many ways to enhance our concentration,
depending on our intrinsic nature (carita). Choose the
method to practice vipassana that is most suitable for our
intrinsic nature. Then, we should consistently follow that
path, so that we will not falter. How do we know what
matches our intrinsic nature? This is difficult, correct?
Perhaps we are still searching for the dhamma that suits
our intrinsic nature. Sometimes, we are confused about
what exactly is our intrinsic nature. If an Arjan says that
you have an intrinsic Buddha nature (Buddha carita),
your answer might be: “Really? I did not know”. If you
are told that you have delusional intrinsic nature (moha
carita), then you could be very sad. You probably think
that there is no way that you could attain dhamma. If you
are told that you have an irascible intrinsic nature (dosa
carita)—prone to anger—how do you practice vipassana
to suit your intrinsic nature?

We may, or may not, know what kind of intrinsic
nature we have. The important thing is to observe which
type of vipassana practice that we could do easily,
that enables us to experience dhamma with ease. That
will be the right path for us. How do we know which
type of vipassana practice enables us to experience
dhamma easily? We need to know what the purpose of
our vipassana practice is. If we want to practice so that
we could reduce our anger, then the type of vipassana
practice that enables us to reduce our anger quickly and
substantially is the right path for us.

Some people have lustful intrinsic nature (raga
carita)—they love beauty and orderliness. This is not a
problem. There is nothing wrong with loving orderliness,
cleanliness. The key is that our mind must be wholesome.
We also do not have just one intrinsic nature. If we see
clean places and we could practice Vipassana well and
easily, our mind is at peace, and we could make swift
progress—then this path is suitable for us. Observe
that we practice vipassana in order to detach, in order
to extinguish sufferings. If the method that we use to
practice vipassana makes us feel tenser, more suffering—
then it is not a suitable method for us. This is an easy
way to observe.

But, the key importance is that regardless of
whatever method we use, the goal of our vipassana
practice must be to detach, to extinguish sufferings.
Detach from what? Detach from our unwholesome
mind. Detach from greed, delusion and anger; detach
from defilements that emerge in our mind. When we are
attached to something, what are we attached to? We are
attached to things that we already have and things that
are yet to emerge. Things that we already have are our
financial assets, our bodies, even our thoughts and our
beliefs (ditthi). What should we detach from? From our
sense of self, our sense of “us” and “them”; to create
wisdom to experience and accept reality.

We have chanted this prayer before, correct? A
happy sanctuary is a sanctuary of truth—the truth of the
physical and mental phenomena, the truth of all things.
When we rely on the truth, we are happy, unperturbed,
not lonely, and stable. This truth that we rely on is:
Everything is dictated by the Three Characteristics of
Being and is non-self, that there is no “us”. We have an
unburdened mind to rely on. We will not feel that we
are in need of anything. But, whenever our mind is not
empty and it is burdened, we would feel that there are
always demands—wanting this, wanting that—always.
We will become fatigued by our own desires.

What could fill our heart? What could we do to
make our heart satisfied? What is the food for our heart?
How much food do we feed our body each day? Here, we
are limited to two meals but once we leave here, and are
freed from the Eight Precepts, observe how many meals
we feed our body? Sometimes our body is full but we
are still not satisfied, because our mind is not fulfilled.
It is not enough to just sit down for meals; we also need
to carry the food with us, to continually feed ourselves.
But, what could fulfill our mind, what could make our
mind stop?

Our mind can be fulfilled by merits. Observe
whether the happiness that happens here is caused by
material things, or not? Happiness that arises from
practicing vipassana is caused by a wholesome mind.
Do we need any material things? Do we rely on material
things, or do we rely on awareness and wisdom—in order
to experience the nothingness of our mind. Every time
we experience our empty, unburdened mind, we will
stop, we will not have desires and the need to strive and
struggle.

What can fulfill our heart? Merits can fulfill our
heart. Observe that every time we make merits, be it
giving alms to monks or making donations; every time
we do good deeds, we will feel contented. Once we
have happiness, we want others to also have happiness.
Our heart is fulfilled, not by material things. The mind
is a mental phenomenon; it is fulfilled by happiness, by
satisfaction. Once we are satisfied, we are happy. But,
are we fulfilled by material things or are we fulfilled by
a meritorious mind? Now, do we feel that our heart is
fulfilled? Yes? What fulfilled our heart? Dhamma fulfills
our heart, correct? Receiving dhamma is enough to satisfy
our mind. A wholesome mind, a fulfilled mind is called
niramisa sukha—happiness that is not dependent on
material things.

As I have mentioned before, we should make our
mind empty and unburdened, then fill it with happiness.
Another easy way is to fill our empty and unburdened
mind with softness and gentleness. The area between our
necks down to our sternum is called hadayavatthu. The
whole area, not just to the left or to the right, is the place
where the mind emerges. This is the place to add softness
and gentleness into our empty, unburdened mind.

Once we have done this, observe how our
unburdened mind feels. More gentle? Do we feel
satisfied, vibrant and bright—or do we feel depressed?
We feel satisfied, correct? That is the way to “feed”
the heart. This is called niramisa sukha—happiness
that does not rely on material things. Or, we could call
it neramit sukha, as we could conjure up (neramit) this
happiness by ourselves. We are the one who dictate how
our mind is.

Some people may ask: Is this fabrication, are we
fabricating? There is nothing wrong with us thinking
about our merit—taking that merit, that happiness to be
the foundation to empower us to further make merits. If
our body is weak, how could we undertake heavy tasks?
If our mind is weak, how could we do great work? If we
make merits, but we never use them—when would we be
able to benefit from them? Do we want to wait until after
we die, or do we want to use them regularly, at present?
Observe that the more we think about the merits we have
made, the more meritorious our mind becomes, which
further drives us to make more merits. Do not be afraid
of running out of merits. We use merits to make more
merits—just like businessmen use money to make more
money.

Usually our mind is not full, it is lacking. When
we experience conscious phenomena around us, when we
face so many chaotic things, our mind needs to expend a
lot of strength. Hence, when we go home, we are tired.
If we use a lot of our brain, just like using a lot of our
mind power, we would be exhausted. Mental tiredness
is more severe than physical tiredness, as it takes a very
long time to recover.

There is a way to add strength to ourselves, either
at home or at work. Whenever we feel tired, be still then
expand our mind, then think of the good deeds we have
done, the merits we have made, then bring them into our
body, into our mind. Fill the mind until it is full, until
it overflows. Our mind would feel strong, ready to face
challenges. If we practice until we are adept, it would
not take time. As soon as we think, our mind would be
full and vibrant. This is what we could do at home—we
make the mind empty and unburdened then fill it with
happiness.

When we go home, could we experience the
emergence-cessation phenomenon? Yes, of course.
Take a little time, five to ten minutes each. If you are a
housewife cleaning the house, as you sweep the broom
each time, try to experience it. Does it flash and disappear,
flash and disappear? Does your mind cease with each
broom action? When we wipe the floor, does it move
like a strand, or does it emerge and cease quickly like
poob, poob, poob. As we walk from the bedroom to the
bathroom, each step, our awareness follows, we could
contemplate. The key is that we must be contented to do,
we must continuously tell ourselves to do. Be contented
to have the awareness.

Try it. If we add contentment, how do we feel?
We feel more comfortable, much more comfortable.
If we think we need to force ourselves, then we would
feel cramped. If we are contented to do anything, we
would be able to do it well, without resistance. If we
have to do things we do not like, simply add the feeling
of contentment. Then we would be able to do it easily.
Try it.

Tomorrow, whoever has any questions, you could
come and ask me before you leave. But, I will answer only
questions relating to dhamma. This is because dhamma
is life. What do we develop our mind for? It is so that we
would not suffer from things that emerge in our lives;
so that we would not suffer with sensation (vedana),
perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara), and
consciousness (vinnana) that occur. These are the Five
Aggregates that could be our own, or belong to others.

Carrying our own Five Aggregates is a burden,
but people who do not understand also carry others’. We
sit for a short while then sensations appear. Afterwards,
perception and mental formations also appear—truly
chaotic. We try to be peaceful but we are consistently
disturbed by thoughts. Where is the consciousness? When
mental formations and perceptions are abundant, the
awareness cannot keep up. In reality, if the consciousness
is not working, then we would not be aware of anything
because the consciousness acts as the experiencer for all
things that occur.

When we practice vipassana here, what do
we add? We add concentration in order to be more
perceptive. When we add concentration, our mind will
be more grounded. When the mind is more grounded, the
awareness will be strong. When the awareness is strong,
what emerges? Wisdom emerges. Wisdom allows us to
understand the impermanence of all the Aggregates.

We are here to practice vipassana, according
to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. When we
practice this way, our goal is to directly extinguish
sufferings. Extinguishment of sufferings leads
ultimately to detachment—detachment from what? From
watdtasongsaan (Translator’s note: Samsara). What is
watdtasongsaan? It is the never-ending cycle of birth
and death. We do not know how many cycles of birth
and death we have already gone through as we cannot
recall our past lives.

The Buddha was able to recall the immeasurable
lives he had lived before over an eon. We are not able
to recall past lives, but we believe according to what
the Buddha said. Many people, when they go to a place
they have never been, but feel that they have been there
before. How is that possible? Perhaps it is a sign telling
us something. Sometimes we go to a certain place, and
it feels comfortable like home. That is also another sign.

Watdtasongsaan—our never-ending cycle of birth
and death occurs according to the Buddha’s teaching. I
have certitude in the Buddha—whatever he said is the
truth. Therefore, we are here to practice vipassana in
order to escape from watdtasongsaan, or the Law of
Causation (paticcasamuppada). The cycle of birth and
death has no beginning and no end—but how do we
escape from this cycle? That is the important thing. Yes,
we can escape it—even for a brief instance. How do we
do it? Let’s talk about it later. Today’s time is up, so let
us stop here. Now, let us spread loving-kindness.

As mentioned previously, before we spread
loving-kindness, we should humbly recall the merits
that we have made. Then fill our minds with these
merits, fill until the merits overflow from our body.
Let them spread out widely, with no boundaries and no
limitations. The benefits from the merits that we have
made and are making, including our maintaining the
Buddhist precepts, giving alms and practicing vipassana,
we resolve to spread these benefits to our benefactors,
including celestial bodies here and elsewhere. We wish
that they would rejoice with us in our merit-making. If
these celestial beings are currently suffering, we wish
that they would soon be free from suffering. And, if they
are already happy, we wish that their happiness would
grow further.

Finally, may the greatness of the Buddha, Dhamma
and Sangha, as well as the merits that you have made,
result in your success and lead ultimately to your
attainment of nibbana.


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