Translated from the Thai by Santikaro Bhikkhu
Thiện Nhựt phỏng dịch
Source-Nguồn: dhammatalks.net, ftp.budaedu.org, budsas.org, thuvienhoasen.org
Today we will summarize all of the inquiries into Anapanasati covered by these lectures. We will summarize the sixteen steps in terms of their essential characters, their value or benefits, and the means of realizing those benefits. Please commit yourselves to listening carefully. Then you will be able to make use of those benefits in their fullest sense. (169)
Do not forget that we are talking about nature, about four aspects of nature and the law of nature manifest in them: kaya, vedana, citta, and Dhamma. Nature pure and simple. So, please understand the word "dhamma-jati." (See P.5-6.) It is both the law of nature and follows the law of nature; nature and its law can never be separated. As living creatures, our duty is to understand and use nature for our highest benefit. Although we cannot control it, we can use it to our advantage when we act correctly according to its law. We know these four natures for just this benefit, for the benefit of our very own lives however long they may last. (170)
KAYA: COOLING EMOTIONS
The first subject in the practice of mindfulness with breathing is the kaya, the body or bodies. We all understand its importance in life without needing explanations. The body is the foundation for the mind. We require a kaya which is ready to maintain and support itself and the mind in ways beneficial for life. Further, we need to understand how to control kaya according to our needs through regulating the breath. There are many advantages in knowing how to regulate the breath. By doing so we can change our moods and emotions. For example, when we are angry, we can let go of that anger quickly by breathing long. By breathing long the anger will disappear. When we are worried and unable to think straight, we breathe longer and longer to force that worry away. Or if we want to change from one train of thought to another, we can do so by breathing long in order to wipe out the unwanted thoughts or emotions and replace them with something more orderly and norma1. Then we will be able to think what needs to be thought. So there is more to kaya than just the flesh body, it carries over to the citta, also.
The breath alone is well worth knowing, even if only in terms of health. We will have good health if we know how to breathe properly. Thus, the body and the various things associated with the body - such as, the breath, the emotions, and health - are considered to be one most important subject. I hope that all of you are able to get the fullest advantage from this stage of Anapanasati. (171)
VEDANA: STOPPING THE SPINNING
The feelings are the second item. If you are not aware of these things, you will think they are unimportant. In reality, they are of the highest importance to human beings in that they spin people around at will. Further, they spin the whole world around. 'Whatever feelings we desire - and everyone craves them - we are incited to all kinds of behavior accordingly. Everyone is chasing after pleasant feelings and running away from unpleasant feelings. This is how the vedana can keep the whole world spinning. The feelings in people are the cause of all the new, strange inventions and creations which humanity has produced. Art, culture, and technology were discovered and produced for the sake of feelings, which have such great power to force us to follow them. Vedana causes desire. Want is born out of feeling and follows feeling. Then, we act according to our desires. Thereby, all the many things happen, Even our search for money is a response to vedana, whether from sensuality and sex, or merely from the ordinary feeling of being at ease.
Please get to know the things that dominate humanity. Vedana have tremendous power and influence over us. If we cannot control feelings, we must rise and fall at their whim, which is dukkha. And we will act out of vedana which are trapped in ignorance (avijja) and are incorrect. The same is true for animals. They too are directed and compelled by feelings. All activities are merely searching, hunting, and chasing after the desired vedana. People, as well, search and hunt for the feelings they want.
Even in coming here to Suan Mokkh, all of you are hoping to find something that will produce the vedana which please you. Is it not true that you came here in order to get some pleasant feelings, such as, from the peace and quiet of a monastery or the joy of meditation; or, that you are trying to get away from some of the agitation, conflict, sorrow, and suffering in the world? These vedana cause all kinds of activity and search; they compel every kind of effort and endeavor. In effect, they are the masters, the dictators, of our lives in the most profound way. When we can control them, they do not do us any harm. When we are unable to control them, we become slaves. What a pitiful state it is to be a slave to vedana! (172)
There are two kinds of vedana: foolish feeling conditioned by ignorance (avijja) and clever feeling conditioned by vijja (correct knowledge). If we are foolish at the moment of phassa (sensory contact), we have foolish feeling. If we are clever and knowledgeable at phassa, we have wise feeling. Foolish feeling leads to ignorant desire, which we call tanha. (craving). Wise feeling leads to correct desire, to wanting what we ought to want, to wise want. We should be careful to make sure that vedana is always wise feeling. Foolish feeling causes tanha, or craving, which in turn drags us along behind foolish tanha, as well as after intelligent wants. Craving can turn wise wants and needs into stupid desires. Foolish tanha leads us around the world, around and around who knows how many times, and still we put up with it. Sometimes we even want to go to the moon! As long as craving remains, there will be no end to it all: endless comings and goings, endless inventions and concoctions, endless desires for the luxurious life. Consequently, the benefits of controlling the vedana are enormous. Do not allow them to stir up foolish desires and wants. Let us be interested in the vedana with this perspective. (173)
CITTA: WORKING CORRECTLY
Now we come to the citta. You probably knew by yourselves and have been aware for some time of its importance. If not, then our studies here have, shown you how significant the citta (mind-heart) is. On the other hand, it is much the same as the kaya and vedana. If the citta is standing or existing in the wrong way, problems will arise, dukkha will occur.
At a minimum, there are three things we must understand about the mind. Depending on the function which it is performing, we can call it by three different names. When it thinks we call it "citta." For being aware, feeling, experiencing, and knowing we say "mano." The basic function of being conscious at the sense doors in order to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and cognize is called "vinnana." We focus on the function the mind performs and then name it accordingly: for thinking we name it citta, for knowing we name it mano, and for the basic sensory consciousness we name it vinnana.
When the citta performs correctly there are good results but it must be under control for it to work correctly. If we cannot control it, it will not be correct. When it is not correct, the whole thing goes to the dogs; nothing will be left in the world. We can say that the world exists because we have citta. If we did not have citta, it would be as if there was no world. If we can keep the mind under control and dwelling in correctness, we will receive the fruit of calmness, quiet, and peace. Understanding the citta enough to keep it under control is the most excellent knowledge for us human beings to discover and have. You ought to be especially interested in this.
DHAMMA: TWO BASIC FACTS
Lastly, we come to Dhamma or Truth. In all things, both those that are us and those that are involved with us, there is Truth that we must know. If we do not know such Truth, or understand it incorrectly, our involvement with things, with life, will be incorrect. This will cause problems and will lead to dukkha. The whole of such knowledge can be summarized within two subjects: compounded things (sankhara, concoctions) which have causes and conditions; and their opposite, the non-compounded thing. You might study these subjects through the metaphysical terms "phenomenal" and "noumenal." Noumenal is the opposite of phenomenal in principle, they are a pair. If something is phenomenal, it is a compounded thing and must exhibit the truth of impermanence (aniccam). If a thing is noumenal, it is a non-compounded thing and it is not aniccam. Rather, it is niccam (permanent). Therefore, we study the aniccam of all things until we know the Truth of impermanence well. Then we do not attach to anything. The mind which is not attached to anything proceeds to realize that thing which is permanent (niccam), beyond impermanence, namely, the noumenon - nibbana. That we understand these two realities - the conditioned and the unconditioned - is of the utmost importance. It is the most important principle of all. The practice of the Dhamma tetrad of Anapanasati leads to knowing these two facts. (175)
That is the essence of our study into these four areas, and the knowledges and benefits such study brings. This is the essence of Anapanasati.
THE FOUR COMRADE DHAMMAS
There are further benefits, however, from practicing Anapanasati. We also will get what I like to call the "Four Comrade Dhammas." I came up with this name myself in order to discuss them more easily. The four comrade dhammas are sati, panna, sampajanna, and samadhi. You will recall from the first lecture that while we live within this world the four comrade dhammas will enable us to subdue all threats. With them we can get rid of dukkha. Whether inside or outside the monastery, we must use these four comrades to live. First, we have sati (reflective awareness mindfulness). When a sense object makes contact, sati is there and brings panna (wisdom) to the experience. Once it arrives, panna transforms into sampajanna (wisdom-in-action), the specific application of wisdom required by the situation. Then, samadhi’s power and strength are added to sampajanna. With them we are able to conquer every kind of object that comes in through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The four comrade dhammas are unsurpassed guardians. They watch over and protect us just like God. If we practice Anapanasati we will acquire the four comrade dhammas. (176)
PRACTICING FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS
The next benefit is that we are able to practice in line with the principle of paticca-samuppada (dependent origination, conditioned arising). The theory of paticca-samuppada is complex and lengthy. For those of you who are not familiar with it, conditioned arising explains the causal origination of dukkha. A series of causes, each dependent on a previous cause, leads to suffering. The Lord Buddha taught many variations on this theme, but because of its great subtlety and profundity it is difficult to understand. Do study it. But once we come to its practical application, dependent origination is exquisitely simple. In practice, it all boils down to having sati in the moment of phassa (sense contact) and that is all. Phassa is the meeting of an internal sense organ, a corresponding external sense object, and the appropriate type of sense consciousness (vinnana). Merely having sati in the moment of phassa solves all the possible problems of paticca-samuppada completely. That is, before conditioned arising can develop have sati right there at contact. Do not let it be ignorant phassa. Then that contact will not lead to ignorant feeling and ignorant feeling will not lead to foolish craving (tanha). It all stops there. This is another advantage of training in Anapanasati. It makes sati sufficiently abundant and fast, qualified enough, to perform its duty in the moment of phassa and stop the stream of paticca-samuppada just then and there. This is an enormous benefit of practicing Anapanasati. (177)
Another benefit is that we are able to practice according to the principle of the four ariya-sacca with ease and completeness. You all have heard and know about the four noble truths. The essence of this law is that dukkha is born out of ignorant desire (tanha). If there is tanha, there must be dukkha. When we are able to use sati to stop tanha and break it off, there is no dukkha. Through preventing ignorant sense experience (phassa), there is no ignorant feeling (vedana) and tanha is not stirred up. This is the best, most beneficial way to practice the four noble truths. Stop tanha through the speed and power of the sati developed by practicing Anapanasati in all four tetrads. (178)
THE HEART OF THE TRIPLE GEM
A further benefit is that Anapanasati easily, completely, and perfectly brings us the Triple Gem (ti-ratana), the Three Refuges of Buddhism. This is because the essence or nucleus of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha is in cleanliness-clarity-calm (purityradiance-tranquility). The state of citta that is clean-clear-calm is the essence of Buddha-Dhamma-Sangha. Please be careful about these three words. The Lord Buddha is not some physical body. Rather, the state in the mind that is clean-clear-calm is the true Lord Buddha. In seeing the Dhamma, the Buddha is seen. The heart of the Dhamma is this c1eanliness-clarity-calm itself. Then, the Sangha are those who through successful practice have c1ean-clear-calm minds. All three words are most important. The first person to realize perfect cleanliness-clarity-calm is called "the Buddha," that Truth rea1ized is called "the Dhamma," and the people who can follow and practice accordingly are called "the Sangha." When we practice Anapanasati we make our citta clean-clear-calm as we have explained in detail throughout these lectures. These qualities are the fruit of viraga, nirodha, and patinissagga (steps fourteen through sixteen). Through them there is cleanliness-clarity-calm, thereby there is easily the genuine Buddha-Dhamma-Sangha in our mindhearts. This is another of Anapanasati's unsurpassed benefits. (179)
BUDDHISM IN ITS ENTIRETY
Now, the next benefit is that in practicing Anapanasati we practice the most fundamental principle of Buddhism, namely, silasamadhi-panna. These three factors are wholly present in the practitioner of Anapanasati. The unshakeable determination to practice is sila (virtue). When the mind is set on correct action, that is sila altogether. In the intention necessary to practice every step of Anapanasati there is automatically a natural sila without us having to practice it in particular. Then, there will be samadhi (concentration) as well. Because of this intention, we practice until samadhi arises. Then panna (wisdom) develops, especially in the fourth tetrad which is the most perfect wisdom. In practicing Anapanasati correctly the most fundamental principle of Buddhism is fulfilled, it leads to sila-samadhi-panna in full measure. This is an enormous benefit practicing Buddhism in its entirety. (180)
When we speak concisely, we talk about sila-samadhi-panna. If we want to go into more complete detail, we talk about the seven bojjhanga (factors of awakening). There is a statement of the Buddha which asserts that fully practicing the sixteen steps of Anapanasati perfects the four satipatthana (foundations of mindfulness). Through the perfection of the four satipatthana (body, feeling, mind, and Dhamma i.e., the objects of the four tetrads), the seven bojjhanga are perfected. Then full awakening is assured. The seven bojjhanga are the very factors which lead to the enlightenment of the arahant (a human being who is liberated from all dukkha). It would take hours to go into all the details. Now, we only have time to give the names of these factors for you to hear: sati, dhammavicaya (investigation of Dhamma), viriya (effort, energy), piti (contentment, satisfaction), passaddhi (tranquility), samadhi (concentration, co1lectedness), and upekkha (equanimity, even-mindedness). These seven factors are complete when Anapanasati is complete. When these seven factors are complete, perfect awakening is assured. Although we do not have enough time now to explain further, please understand that the seven bojjhanga are a sure thing when Anapanasati is practiced completely. The recorded words of the Buddha state this clearly. You can verify its truth by yourself. (181)
NIBBANA HERE AND NOW
Now, we come to the most positive benefit obtained through the practice of mindfulness with breathing, namely, we will have nibbana in this life, without needing to die. We mean nibbana here and now, the type where we do not need to die, the kind that has nothing to do with death. "Nibbana" means "coolness." The word "nibbuto" also means "coolness." If it is only temporary coolness, not continual, and not yet perfect, we call it "nibbuto." Nevertheless, the flavor is the same as perfect nibbana. Nibbuto is like the sample a salesman shows of the product we actually buy. They must be alike. Here we have a sample of nibbana to taste for a little while. We call it temporary nibbana or samayika-nibbana.
Coolness also can be the nibbana that happens due to "that factor." In Pali it is called "that factor," which means something like "coincidental." For example, when there is sati on the breath, the citta is cool. Anapanasati is "that factor," the agent, the cause, that affects the coolness here. This is tadanga-nibbana, coincidental nibbana. This coolness occurs because when there is no defilement the citta is cool. When there is no fire, there is coolness. Here, Anapanasati gets rid of the fires, the defilements. Although it is only temporary, the fire goes away and there is coolness for a while. There is nibbana for a while, due to "that factor," that tool, namely Anapanasati. Although momentary, not yet perfect and perpetual, the flavor of nibbana is savored as a sample or taste. Anapanasati helps us to sample nibbana little by little, moment by moment, during this very life. And nothing has to die. Then, coolness's duration is lengthened, its extent is broadened, and the frequency is increased until there is perfect nibbana. This is the benefit which I consider most satisfying or most positive. If you can do it. (182)
Make sure that you understand this word nibbana correctly. It means "cool" and has nothing to do with dying. If it is the kind of nibbana associated with death, such as the death of an arahant, we use another word, "parinibbana." Just "nibbana" without the prefix "pari," simply means "cool," the absence of heat. Imagine that everything is going right for you: you have good health, economic security, a good family, good friends, and good surroundings. Then, this life of yours is cool according to the meaning of nibbana. It may not be perfect nibbana, because it must include a cool mind to be perfect, but it is cool just the same.
The word "nibbana" means "cool" It even can be used regarding material things. A burning charcoal that gradually cools down until no longer hot is said to "nibbana." When soup is too hot to eat, wait for it to cool off, then we can say that the soup is nibbana , enough to eat. It might be applied even to fierce and dangerous animals captured from the forest, then tamed and trained until fully domesticated. They can be said to nibbana as well. In the Pali texts, this same word is used regarding material things, animals, and people. If something is cool rather than hot it is nibbana in one sense or another. And it need not die. We will receive the most satisfying sort of nibbana – cool in body, cool in mind, cool in all respects through practicing Anapanasati. (183)
In short, we have a cool life here and now, namely, nibbana in the sense we have explained just now. In Pali, this is called "nibbuto," meaning "one who is cooled" or "one who has nibbana." That state is called "nibbana." That kind of person is called "nibbuto."
THE LAST BREATH
There are many other benefits to the practice of Anapanasati that we could mention, but it would take hours, which is more than you listeners and we speakers can handle. Allow us, however, to mention one last item: we will know the last breath of our life. That is, we will know the breath in which we will die. This does not mean that we will choose the moment of death. It just means that through becoming well-versed in our practice of Anapanasati we become experts regarding the breath. We will know instantly whether we are going to die during this present breath or not. Then we can predict the final breath of our life. This is the special benefit which is knowing that last minute in which we will die. (184)
The Lord Buddha himself declared that he realized Perfect Self-Awakening (anuttara sammasambodhi) through practicing Anapanasati. Consequently, we are pleased to recommend it to you, and to people everywhere, so that all human beings will know of it and be able to practice it. The Lord Buddha became a Buddha while practicing Anapanasati. Thus, he offered it to us as the best system of all to practice. He advised us all to use this practice for our own welfare, for the welfare of others, for the welfare of everyone. There is no better way to practice Dhamma than mindfulness with breathing. May you all give careful attention to it.
Our discussion of Anapanasati-bhavana is sufficiently complete now. May we end the final lecture here. (185)