Translated from the Thai by Santikaro Bhikkhu
Thiện Nhựt phỏng dịch
Source-Nguồn: dhammatalks.net, ftp.budaedu.org, budsas.org, thuvienhoasen.org
(To all Dhamma Comrades, those helping to spread Dhamma:)
Break out the funds to spread Dhamma to let Faithful Trust flow,
Broadcast majestic Dhamma to radiate long living joy.
Release unexcelled Dhamma to tap the spring of Virtue,
Let safely peaceful delight flow like a cool mountain stream.
Dhamma leaves of many years sprouting anew, reaching out,
To unfold and bloom in the Dhamma Centers of all towns,
To spread lustrous Dhamma and in hearts glorified plant it,
Before long, weeds of sorrow, pain, and affliction will flee.
As Virtue revives and resounds throughout Thai society,
All hearts feel certain love toward those born, ageing, and dying.
Congratulations and Blessings to all Dhamma Comrades,
You who share Dhamma to widen the people's prosperous joy.
Heartiest appreciation from Buddhadasa Indapanno,
Buddhist Science ever shines beams of Bodhi longlasting,
In grateful service, fruits of merit and wholesome successes,
Are all devoted in honor to Lord Father Buddha,
Thus may the Thai people be renowned for their Virtue,
May perfect success through Buddhist Science awaken their hearts,
May the King and His Family live long in triumphant strength,
May joy long endure throughout this our world upon earth.
Chaiya, 2 November 2530
(translated by Santikaro Bhikkhu, 3 February 2531 (1988))
PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION
This edition includes a complete translation of "The Mindfulness With Breathing Discourse" (Appendix E). We have added the introductory passages that were left out of the first edition. We also include Ajahn Buddhadasa's notes to the discourse. The full discourse and the notes will provide the reader with rich material for reflection and a fitting summary of this book, and of all Dhamma practice. The remainder of the text is unchanged, except for the correction of printing and spelling errors. Our thanks to everyone who has made this edition possible.
December 2531 (1988)
Welcome to Mindfulness with Breathing.
Mindfulness with Breathing is a meditation technique anchored In our breathing, it is an exquisite tool for exploring life through subtle awareness and active investigation of the breathing and life. The breath is life, to stop breathing is to die. The breath is vital, natural, soothing, revealing. It is our constant companion. Wherever we go, at all times, the breath sustains life and provides the opportunity (or spiritual development. In practicing mindfulness upon and through the breathing, we develop and strengthen our mental abilities and spiritual qualities. We learn how to relax the body and calm the mind. As the mind quiets and clears, we investigate how life, how the mind and body, unfolds. We discover the fundamental reality of human existence and learn how to live our lives in harmony with that reality. And all the while, we are anchored in the breath, nourished and sustained by the breath, soothed and balanced by the breath, sensitive to the breathing in and breathing out. This is our practice.
Mindfulness with Breathing is the system of meditation or mental cultivation (citta-bhavana) often practiced and most often taught by the Buddha Gautama. For more than 2500 years, this practice has been preserved and passed along. It continues to be a vital part of the lives of practicing Buddhists in
In the Pali language of the Buddhist scriptures this practice called "Anapanasati" which means "mindfulness with in-breaths and out-breaths." The complete system of practice is described in the Pali texts and further explained in their commentaries. Over the years, an extensive literature has developed. The Venerable Ajahn Buddhadasa has drawn on these 'sources, especially the Buddha's words, for his own practice. Out of that experience, he has given a wide variety of explanations about how and why to practice Mindfulness with Breathing. This book contains some of his most recent talks about this meditation practice.
The lectures included here were chosen for two reasons. First, they were given to Westerners attending the monthly meditation courses at Suan Mokkh. In speaking to Western meditators, Ajahn Buddhadasa uses a straight-forward, no-frills approach. He, need not, go into the cultural interests of traditional Thai Buddhists. Instead, he prefers a scientific, rational, analytic attitude. And rather than limit the instruction to Buddhists, he emphasizes the universal, natural humanness of Anapanasati. Further, he endeavors to respond to the needs, difficulties, questions, and abilities of beginning Western meditators, especially our guests at Suan Mokkh.
Second, this manual is aimed at "serious, beginners." By "beginner" we mean people who are fairly new to this practice and its theory. Some, have just begun, while others have some practical experience but lack information about where and how to develop their practice further. Both can benefit from clear instructions concerning their current situation and the overall perspective. By "serious" we mean those who have an interest deeper than idle curiosity. They will read and reread this manual carefully, will think through this information adequately, and will apply the resulting understanding with sincerity and commitment. Although some people like to think that we do not have to read books about meditation, that we need only to do-it, we must be careful to know what it is we are doing. We must begin with some source of information, sufficiently clear and complete, to practice meaningfully. If we do not live with or near a competent teacher, a manual such as this is necessary. The beginner needs information simple enough to give a dear picture of the entire process, yet requires enough detail to turn the picture into reality. This manual should strike the proper balance. There is enough here to guide successful practice, but not so much as to complicate and overwhelm. Those who are serious will find what they need without difficulty.
The main body of this manual comes from the series of lectures given during our September 1986 meditation course. For this course, Ajahn Poh (Venerable Bodhi Buddhadhammo, the initiator of these courses and &tan Mokkh's Abbot) asked Ajahn Buddhadasa to give the meditation instruction directly. Each morning, after breakfast, the retreatants gathered at "the Curved Rock," Suan Mokkh's outdoor lecture area. Venerable Ajahn spoke in Thai, with this translator interpreting into English. The talks were recorded and many people, both foreign and Thai, requested copies of the series.
Early last year, Khun Wutichai Taweesaksiriphol and the Dhamma Study-Practice Group asked Venerable Ajahn for permission to publish both the Thai and English versions. Once the tapes were transcribed, however, it turned out that the original English interpretation was unsuitable for publication. It contained inaccuracies and was unnecessarily repetitive. Therefore, the original interpreter has revised his first attempt, or, we could say, translated it anew. This new rendering follows the original Thai closely, although some additions have been kept. Anyone who compares this version with the tapes will appreciate the improvement.
In the course of revision and preparation, we decided to append material to make the manual more comprehensive. In more recent talks, Ajahn Buddhadasa has discussed perspectives on Anapanasati not covered in the September talks. Appendices A, B, and C are selections from three of these talks, with the parts that repeat material covered in earlier talks edited out. This new information emphasizes the significance and purpose of Anapanasati. Appendix D is a substantial revision of a talk given by the interpreter as a summary of Venerable Ajahn's seven lectures. Appendix E leaves the final word with our prime inspiration and original source - the Lord Buddha's "Mindfulness with Breathing Discourse (Anapanasati Sutta)." The heart of the fundamental text for this system of meditation is presented here in a new translation. We hope, that the exquisite simplicity and directness of the Blessed One's words will gather all of the preceding explanations into one clear focus. That focus, of course, must aim at the only real purpose there is in life - nibbana.
If you have yet to sit down and "watch" your breaths, this book will point out why you should, and how. Still, until you try it, and keep trying, it will be impossible to completely understand these words. So read this book through at least once, or however many times it takes to get the gist of the practice. Then, as you practice, read and reread the sections most relevant to what you are doing and are about to do. These words will become tangible only through applying them, and thus strengthened they will guide the development more securely. You need enough intellectual understanding to be clear about what you need to do and how to go about it. While focusing on the immediate requirements of today's learning, do not lose sight of the overall path, structure, method, and goal. Then you will practice with confidence and success.
In addition to its primary purpose, teaching how to practice Anapanasati correctly, this manual serves a purpose which the casual reader will overlook. With the careful study advocated above, however, you will discover that every central teaching of Buddhism, true Buddhism in its pristine form, is mentioned here. This book, then, provides an outline of the essential teachings. In this way our intellectual study is neatly integrated with our mental cultivation practice. For how could we separate the two? To fully understand our practice we must do our Dhamma homework, and vice versa.
Having both in one place should help those who are confused about what and how much to study. Just make sure that you understand all the things discussed here, that is enough.
The benefits of correct, sustained Anapanasati practice are numerous. Some are specifically religious and others are mundane. Although Ajahn Buddhadasa covers them extensively in the seventh lecture, we should mention a few here at the beginning. First, Anapanasati is good for our health, both physical and mental. Long, deep, peaceful breathing is good for the body. Proper breathing calms us down and helps us to let go of the tension, high blood pressure, nervousness, and ulcers that ruin so many lives these days. We can learn the simple and beautiful act of sitting quietly alive to the breathing, free of stress, worry, and busyness. This gentle calm can be maintained in our other daily activities and will allow us to do everything with more grace and skill.
Anapanasati brings us into touch with reality and nature. We often live in our heads - in ideas, dreams, memories, plans, words, and all that. So we do not have the opportunity to understand our own bodies even, never taking the time to observe them (except when the excitement of illness and sex occurs). In Anapanasati, through the breathing, we become sensitive to our bodies and their nature. We ground ourselves in this basic reality of human existence, which provides the stability we need to cope wisely with feelings, emotions, thoughts, memories, and all the rest of our inner conditioning. No longer blown about by these experiences, we can accept them for what they are and learn the lesson they have to teach us. We begin to learn what is what, what is real and what is not, what is necessary and what is unnecessary, what is conflict and what is peace.
With Anapanasati we learn to live in the present moment, the only place one can truly live. Dwelling in the past, which has died, or dreaming in the future, which brings death, is not really living as a human being ought to live. Each breath, however, is a living reality within the boundless here-now. To be aware of them is to live, ready to grow into and with whatever comes next.
Lastly, as far as this brief discussion is concerned, Anapanasati helps us to ease up on and let go of the selfishness that is destroying our lives and world. Our societies and planet are tortured by the lack of peace. The problem is so serious that even politicians and the military-industrialists pay lip-service to it. Still, nothing much is done to blossom genuine peace. Merely external (and superficial) approaches are taken, while the source of conflict is within us, each of us. The conflict, strife, struggle, and competition, all the violence and crime, the exploitation and dishonesty, arises out of our selfcentered striving, which is born out of our selfish thinking. Anapanasati will get us to the bottom of this nasty "I-ing" and “my-ing" which spawns selfishness. There is no need to shout for peace when we merely need breath with wise awareness.
Many people who share our aspiration for peace, within both individual hearts and the world we share, visit Suan Mokkh. We offer this manual to them and all others who seek the Lord Buddha's path of peace, who accept this the duty and joy of all human beings. We hope that this book will enrich your practice of Anapanasati and your life. May we all realize the purpose for which we were born.
New Year's 2531 (1988)
Dhamma projects give us opportunities to join together in meritorious work and the service of our comrades in birth, ageing, illness, and death. A number of friends have given freely of their energy, time, and skills. Although there is no better reward than the contentment and peace that comes with doing our duty in Dhamma, nevertheless, we would like to acknowledge and bless their contributions.
The Thai manuscript was transcribed by Jiaranai Lansuchip.
The English manuscript was transcribed by Supis Vajanarat and edited the first time by Pradittha Siripan.
Dhammakamo Bhikkhu, Viriyanando Bhikkhu, John Busch, Kris Hoover and Mae Chi Dhammadinna helped to proof read the English version.
The Thai and English language typing was done by Supis Vajanarat.
Miscellaneous errands were run by Wutichi Taveesaksiriphol and Phra Dusadee Metamkuro.
Funds for the first printing of this manual were donated by Dr.Priya Tasatiapradit, Amnuey Suwankiri, Supis Vajanarat, and The Dhamma Study-Practice Group.
Ajahn Poh (Bodhi Buddhadhammo) and Ajahn Runjuan Inddrakamhaeng of Suan Mokkh have nurtured and guided the environment wherein these lectures and this book have arisen.
Ajahn Buddhadasa, in line with the Blessed One's purpose, gives us the example and inspiration for a life of Dhamma service, which we humbly try to emulate in ways such as putting together this manual.
Lastly, Mrs. Pratum Juanwiwat supplies much of the friendship and material support (paper, pens, photo-copying, medicine, food) needed to keep the translator's life and work rolling.
Phra Dusadee Metamkuro
Twelfth Lunar Month 2530 (1987)
PALI TERMS: Ajahn Buddhadasa feels that committed students of Dhamma should become familiar with and deepen their understanding of important Pali terms. Translations often miss some or much, of the original meaning (e.g. dukkha). By learning the Pali terms, we can explore the various meanings and connotations that arise in different contexts. Here, you will find them explained and sometimes translated (although not always in the same way) both in the text and in the glossary.
Pali has both singular and plural inflections but Thai does not. The Pali-Thai terms herein are used like the English "sheep'', sometimes with an article and sometimes not. Depending on the context and meaning, you can decide which cases are appropriate: singular, plural, both, or numberless.
Generally, Pali terms are italicized. A few of the more frequent and important terms, especially those that are difficult or cumbersome to translate, are not italicized. These are words which fill gaps in the English language, so we offer them as additions to English dictionaries. Some of these words are Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, Anapanasati, dhamma, and dukkha.
Pali and Thai scripts do not use capital letters. In general, we only capitalize Pali terms when they begin a sentence. The exceptions are some of the non-italicized words.
NUMBERING: The Thai and English versions of this work are being published almost simultaneously. To enable easy reference between the two, and with the original tapes, we have numbered each spoken passage. In the original, Ajahn Buddhadasa sometimes spoke only a sentence or two then paused for the interpreter. Other times, he spoke at length before giving the interpreter a chance. Each of these passages is given its own number. When these passages are referred to in the text, they are designated with a capital "P." (Page references use a lower-case "p"). Appendices A, S, and C are numbered in the same way, but do not correspond to the tapes exactly, because some passages have been left out. Appendix D is numbered although it differs greatly from the tape and is not included in the Thai version.
FOOTNOTES: All have been added by the translator.