Translated from the Thai by Santikaro Bhikkhu
Thiện Nhựt phỏng dịch
Source-Nguồn: dhammatalks.net, ftp.budaedu.org, budsas.org, thuvienhoasen.org
(Selections from a talk given 2 September 1987)
Those who despise and fear Satan will search for him in his true form, which is selfishness. This egoistic devil traps each person within the heap of dukkha, keeps everyone spinning around in the mess of dukkha. Selfishness further causes society, in fad, the entire world, to spin around in suffering. In such a situation, what then will remain? It is imperative therefore, that we remove this thing through our correct deeds and behavior.
All dhammas are Sunyata. Nibbana is the supreme voidness. The heart of Buddhism is only this ending of selfishness. There is nothing else to do. Although the explanations may proliferate and complicate, they all boil down to "getting rid of selfishness." We study Dhamma in order to understand this point. We practice meditation in order to clear the mind and heart of all selfishness. Anapanasati, especially, is a system of practice dedicated to the elimination of selfishness. We ought to be particularly interested in it and practice it successfully. This is the purpose of coming here. We come to Suan Mokkh in order to study and practice the removal of selfishness. (A. 1)
Anapanasati leads to the understanding of everything connected to this matter:
knowing the source of selfishness,
knowing the end of selfishness,
knowing the way to end selfishness.
This is the goal of Anapanasati, to know what this body is like and to know what this mind is like. Know what the feelings (vedana), which trick us into being selfish, are like. And know the truth of all things that they are not self-entities, that we should not view them as selves. Then, let go of selfhood which is like canceling the power of instinctual selfishness. As a result, there is no defilement, our problems are ended and we can quench dukkha. Our problems are finished such that we are certain of their ending. This is what the Anapanasati system of practice is about. You can see for yourself the need to know it and practice it in order to discover the "New Life" that is out from under all of selfishness' power. Please be especially interested m this practice. (A.2)
MODE OF LIVING
In order for you to practice Anapanasati with good results, some adjustments must be made in your mode of living. Your lifestyle and Anapanasati practice are interrelated. Thus, we should discuss the kind of lifestyle that supports Dhamma study and citta- bhavana practice. Allow us some time to discuss this necessary topic. (A.3)
This topic is the paccaya. This Pali (and Thai) word has the same meaning as the English "condition," although there is a bit more to "paccaya," as well. The term we use, however, is secondary to the meaning, and that you must understand yourself. The paccaya are things absolutely necessary for life, thus, they are sometimes called the "necessities or requisites of life. They are like factors of life that aid the existence of life. These necessities, the foundation of our lives, must be correct if we are to study Dhamma and practice meditation successfully. Thus, we request your attention regarding this important matter. (A.4)
Most people know of only the material or bodily conditions and believe that there are only four: food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. To know only the four necessities, I must say, is still quite foolish. We ought to know the fifth necessity, the paccaya for the mind-heart. Those four conditions are for the body alone. The condition for the mind in particular is that which amuses and coaxes the mind into contentment. We might call it "entertainment," but I am not sure that this is the right word. You will know what I mean, however, once you consider how necessary it is to have something that properly entertains the mind and makes it contented in the correct way. Without it there would be death - that is, mental death.
When the bodily necessities are lacking; the body dies. When the mental necessity is missing, the mind is dead. Please get to know both the physical and mental paccaya, there are four of the former and one of the later. Altogether, there are five of them. Here I am most concerned with the fifth necessity, the paccaya which is most important, the one that must be sufficient for the mind's nourishment and sustenance. We will consider them in detail, now that you understand that there are four physical conditions and one mental condition. (A.5)
THE MATERIAL NECESSITIES
Let us start from the beginning, with the first material necessity - food. We must eat food that is food. Do not eat food that is bait. The crucial distinction between food and bait must be understood. We eat food for the proper nourishment of life. We eat bait for the sake of deliciousness. Bait makes us stupid, so that we eat foolishly, just like the bait on the hook that snags foolish fish. We must eat the kinds of food which are genuinely beneficial for the body, and we must eat them in moderation. "Eating bait" means eating for the sake of deliciousness and fun. It is usually expensive. Please stop swallowing bait and eat only food that is proper and wholesome. Do not eat it as bait, especially while you are staying here. (A.6)
If you are eating bait, you will be constantly hungry all day and all night. You always will be sneaking off to eat yet more bait. Eating bait impairs our mental abilities. The mind surrenders to the bait and is not fit for the study and practice of Dhamma. Please eat food instead of bait. When you eat food, it will be at appropriate times and in moderation. There will be little waste and no danger. (A.7)
Our second condition is clothing. Please wear clothing that fulfills the real meaning and purpose of clothing: good health, protection against annoyances and discomfort, convenience and simplicity, expression of culture.
Please wear clothing that is convenient, simple, and a sign of culture. Please do not wear clothing that destroys the culture of oneself or of others. That would lead to inappropriateness within oneself and would be an enemy of mental tranquility. Please give some consideration to clothing, the second paccaya also. (A.8)
The third condition is shelter. It should be adequate and modest, and should not be excessive. Nowadays, worldly people want housing that exceeds their needs, costs very much, causes difficulties and leads to worries. Thus housing becomes a source of ever greater selfishness. For Dhamma practice the most appropriate housing is the closest to nature, close enough to be called "camaraderie with nature." We have to say that Europeans seldom seem to live out in the open, on the ground, or dose to nature. They tend to live in beautiful, fancy, expensive places. They need to stay in hotels and do not seem to care for the simple monastery meeting hall.* (A.9)
* [The traditional place for Thai travelers to rest and sleep but nowadays no longer used by merchants and government employees.]
INTIMATE WITH NATURE
So please try to adjust to something new, to housing which is close to nature. Living close to nature makes it easier to understand, to know, and to practice in harmony with nature. Please learn to enjoy and be contented with plain and simple living together with nature. This will benefit and support your study and practice. (A.10)
We Buddhists take the Lord Buddha as our example in these matters. The Buddha was born outdoors, was enlightened outdoors, taught sitting outside on the ground, lived outdoors, rested out in the open, and died (parinibbana) outdoors. This shows how his life was intimate with nature. We take his example as our standard, and thus are content with a simple, natural mode of living. We believe that the founders of all the great religions practiced plain living as well although we cannot say if they all did so as thoroughly as the Buddha, who was born, was enlightened, taught, lived, and died in the open air. (A.11)
So we will have a lifestyle that is intimate with nature that is convenient for nature to tell us things. If we are intelligent listeners, we will hear nature's voice much more than if we were far away. The essence of our mode of living is intimacy with nature. (A.12)
In Thai, the words "moderate" and "sufficient" can be vague, please understand them as we have explained above. And we should be careful about the words "good" and "well," such as, in "good living" and "eating well." We do not care for good living and good eating which have no limits. We prefer to live and eat well enough, that is, correctly. All four material paccaya are based on the principles of sufficiency and appropriateness. Do not get carried away with good - good - good such that it becomes excessive and luxurious. That would be neither proper nor decent Please acknowledge this understanding of the four material necessities. (A.13)
THE MENTAL NECESSITY
Now, we come to the fifth necessity, the one no one talks about. But this fifth paccaya is more important than the other four, so please remember it. We are talking about the thing that cajoles and entertains us, making us content, making us un-anxious and un-agitated, making us no longer hungry to the point of death. Amusing the heart, making it satisfied and pleased, is crucial. This is the mental condition or necessity. We might give it different names, such as entertainment or amusement. I am not really sure what English word to use, but it does not matter. The important point is that it, whatever we call it, must be right for the mind. It must be mind food, nourishment for the mind, just as the other four are food for the body. Now, we are concerned with the mental aspect. (A.14)
Most of the time, as far as we can tell, the fifth necessity of worldly people becomes a matter of sex. Please learn how to tell the difference. Sex is one kind of thing that can entertain the mind, but now we are ready for Dhamma - Dhamma - Dhamma to be our amusement. This means that we use appropriateness to amuse and satisfy us. When we are aware of correctness and satisfied with it, when we feel proper and are content, the heart is entertained and the mind is amused. This sense of correctness and contentedness need have nothing to do with sex.
The building behind us is called "The Theater of Spiritual Entertainments." * It was built to provide entertainment for the heart. It is full of pictures that teach Dhamma, as well as amuse and please. This is one form the fifth necessity takes. Please get to know this type of fifth paccaya first of all, which is not sexual but Dhammic. Do not just follow the majority who ignore the fact that sex is caught up in endless complexities and difficulties, who still cling to sex as their fifth necessity. (A.15)
*[To the right of and past the hin kong, this theater is one of the many vehicles for sharing Dhamma at Suan Mokkh.]
In summary, we request that you adjust your mode of living to fit the study and practice of citta-bhavana. Then it will be easy and convenient for all of you to study and practice successfully. Then you will discover the "New Life" that is above and beyond the influence of positivism and negativism**.
[**The fundamental dualism which distracts us from the
The details must wait until later, for this matter is very subtle, but we can say that New Life is above all problems and beyond all aspects of dukkha. It is free, liberated, and emancipated - because we practice Dhamma with the support and aid of all five necessities. Please remember to make all five of them correct and proper.