DHAMMAVADA DHAMMAVADA DHAMMAVADA

FORE WORD

"Dhammavada" ("Teachings of the Dhamma") is a collection of Dhammic observations which Ajahn Sanong Katapunyo has taught and impressed upon the hearts of his disciples everywhere as a guide to living a useful life.This book could not have been possible without the cooperation of Khun Parnsri Wichagonrakull who helped translating it from Thai to English.Thus whatever usefulness the reader derives from this book, may the good things arising from its compilation inspire Dhamma to stay in the reader's mind forever.The Organising Committee

Anapanasati Meditation

This is the cultivation of mindfulness while breathing in and out.This method can be practised conveniently because.. . it uses the breath found in the bodies of all. It can be used at any time and any place we like without having to prepare materials and equipment. No thought is necessary...only mindfulness of breathing in and out which is apparent to us. Developing Mindfulness with breathing is just one meditation method out of 40. This method can bring success both in terms of tranquility and insight, whether practised with the aim of "one pointedness", or as a basis to practise the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthana), because...it makes one fully able to use mental concentration as a practical field for the intellect.

Practice Method in brief

1.Place

To begin...find a suitably quiet place to get the atmosphere and environment to help us with the practice. If there is unavoidable distraction or the practice is to serve a specific situation, this is in proper order.

2.Sitting posture

There is a principle that ... any posture which puts the body in a relaxed and comfortable stale, with no stiffness despite long practice, besides helping to ease breathing, is the posture we ought to use. The posture held to bring the best results is the "half-lotus", setting the body up straight placing the right leg over the left with the hands in the lap the right hand lying on the left hand with the thumbs touching.

For those who have never sat like this, if one can bear the training to do so, this is good. If one cannot do it, one may sit up straight on a chair or take any other comfortable posture. However, if one is feeling tension or stress, know that this is incorrect practice. Solve this before going on further. The eyes may be closed or open. If open, one may look down or at the tip of one's nose.

3.Fixing the breath

Once sat comfortably one should breathe deeply and long, filling the lungs and then gradually breathing out. Do this several times while establishing the feeling of an "empty" body and "airy" brain until one feels that ... the mind is sufficiently tranquil and one is breathing normally ... with mindfulness of breathing in and out all the time. When breathing in long, one knows ... one breathes in long.When breathing out long, one knows one breathes out long. When breathing in short, one knows ... one breathes in short. When breathing out short, one knows one breathes out short. The breath need not be forced. Let it go as usual but ... know it clearly. Beginners in the practice may count mentally to help fix the mind, cutting out confusing and annoying thoughts from the outside.if the mind is confused and unquiet, count the breaths in pairs ... thus:'Buddho"1, "Buddho", 2 up to "Buddho" 10 then back through "Buddho" 9 to "Buddho" 1 ... or one can count "Buddho" 1 right through to "Buddho" 100 without determining whether one is breathing in or out. Let mindfulness be fixed at a point where the breath can be felt - at the end of the nose or the Upper lip.

When there is mindfulness i.e. the mind is with the breaths without having to count, one can stop counting and use mindfulness of breathing at the point of Contact (nosetip or upper lip). That means we do not worry about the breaths coming and going but we know the breath.

Before coming out of concentration, we must consider our mind and body from the top - the end of the hair on the head - to the bottom - the soles of the feet ... then from the bottom - the soles of the feet - to the top the end of the hair on the head. Contemplate the body all over. Know your whole body when you leave concentration. Make the mind consider its form both externally and internally. Know all over while gently moving the right hand to the right knee move the left hand to the left knee, then gently raise the right hand up to the chest raising the left hand to join the palms together like a lotus bud. Vow every time before coming out of concentration to keep the mind increasingly firm in the good qualities we should cultivate in the practice of Dhamma.

WORLD AND DHAMMA

The World is one thing.

The Dhamma is another.

The worldly Dhamma is with the world.

It deals with pleasure and sorrow.

When fortune, honour, praise and happiness appear, we are pleased.

When fortune, honour, praise and happiness decrease, we feel sad.

Therefore when these appear to decline, we must be indifferent.

If we cannot be indifferent, that is being worldly.

But if we can be indifferent, not being glad or sad, that is the Dhamma.

MENTAL POWER

Mind is difficult to handle.

To unify it is not easy.

If we want to bring the mind to the nails (finger-toe) it is very hard to do so.

Even spending three months in order to bring the mind to the nails (finger-toe) it does not stay there yet.

Bringing the mind to the hair - it is not on the hair.

The mind likes to live with other human beings.

When we think of the other's hair - we can remember it.

When we think of the other's face - it appears clearly.

We cannot see our own face which is with us.

It is funny isn't it?

We can see things which are far away. When we think of friends who live upcountry we can see their faces immediately.

Why is it so easy?

But then it turn out to be fantasy - if we think of our own face.

It calms down immediately. When we know our own mind, it extinguishes suddenly.

But when we forget to control our mind, suffering occurs immediately.

This is the method to extinguish suffering.

EQUAL DUKKHA

Human beings have equal suffering (Dukkha).

All men are equally subject to pain.

If we put our finger in the fire,

it is equally hot for everybody,

it is equally painful.

The only difference is the endurance in spite of enduring pain.

If a child puts his finger in the fire, it will cry unbearably.

But if an adult does such a thing, he or she will not cry much.

For adults have more endurance. Although it is the same pain or same suffering, the endurance and the restraint towards suffering of a child and an adult are different.

ASSOCIATING WITH THE MONKS SPOILS HUMAN BEINGS

Associating with the monks is not good, is it?

Whoever associates with monks will lose human qualities, but not in associating with human being.

In associating with monks, human nature is lost, for all human characteristics disappear. Human sadness vanishes.

But when associating with human being, the monkhood disappears.

Bad words, quarrels and cheating appear, for human being have greed and craving for things.

When associating with monks, one will want to make merit and will not scold or use bad Words, nor take alcoholic drinks neither dance nor go to clubs or bars.

Therefore, in associating with human beings, one loses the monk's qualities: in associating with monks one loses human qualities.

CONSIDERING ONESELF

The Dhamma - the teaching of the Buddha teaches us to consider ourselves.

At the beginning the Buddha teaches us simply to consider five meditations :-

Hair of the head, hair of the body, nails. teeth, skin.

Skin, teeth, nails, hair of the body, hair of the head.

This is to consider that our bodies appearance is transient, constantly changing.

Hair of the head: in the future it will change colour from black to white. If we leave it for a long time, it will be dirty, not clean, and finally it will fall out and all will be gone.

Therefore we consider that the hair of the head is impermanent.

Hair of the body: it occurs all over our body. If we do not take care of it, the hair will mix with sweat all day long, the hair will not be clean.

Therefore we consider that the body hair is impermanent.

Nails (finger-toe) if we do not cut or clean them and leave them too long, the nails will become dirty.

Therefore we consider that nails are impermanent.

Teeth: If we do not brush our teeth in our mouth, do not clean them but leave them unattended too long, our teeth will not be clean but dirty. Finally they will decay, cause pain, become loose and drop out.

Therefore we consider that teeth are impermanent.

Skin: our bodies skin grows from food and drink and from our parents. If we do not clean it for a long time, it will become stained dirty, wrinkled and decayed.

Therefore we consider that skin is impermanent.

Thus the Dhamma which comes from the Tripitaka, which is for the benefit of all people, also comes from self consideration, from considering hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth and skin. Then analyse the physical and abstract aspects of the body and mind. The physical part is earth, air, fire, an water the abstract part is thought, merit (goodness) and demerit (badness). When we analyse the relationship deeper, we will find that there is no person, no us, no them.

One day the persons, who are considered as us or them, will also change.  

When we consider the five Khandha (Existences, Aggregates) in our bodies, we will realize that we must become old, ill and die. We must meditate to calm our mind.

Thus is the comprehension of the Dhamma the teaching of the Buddha.

THE HUMAN MIND DOES NOT DIE

The human mind does not die.

Mind is the cycle of greed, anger and delusion which does not die.

Only the body dies.

The person who is not reborn anymore is one who knows the truthful Dhamma;

whose desires are destroyed,

he is then enlightened with the truthful Dhamma.

ASSUMPTION OF PERSONS

Females are assumed to be females.

Males are assumed to be males.

Human beings are assumed to be human beings.

If we do not name them, there will be no females and males. They will be earth, air, fire and water.

Human beings come from earth, air, fire and water but we name them human beings and assume from their forms that they are female and male and again we give them names - a further assumption. If someone says that our names are good, we are pleased with those names. Thus we hold onto.If someone says that our names are not good, we feel sad to be named so.

This is called becoming attached to an assumption. We are attached to it since we were born, since our parents gave us the assumption.

In reality if we search for a human being there is non to be found. If we search for a real human being, we have to search into what we believe that it is a human being.

For this flesh, skin, nails, hair of the head, hair of the body, bone, tendon, blood, pus, mucus, saliva are just earth, air, fire and water. When we analyse a human being, it is not there at all. There is no female, no male as one supposes it to be.

We see the skeleton hanging but it is neither female nor male, is it?

If we take the body away, and pinpoint that it is either female or male, can we do so?

If we can separate the assumption, we reach the supremacy. Searching by supremacy in order to find ourselves, we find that there is none. There is no greedy, angry, or foolish person.

Thus meditation is the basis for calmness. Meditation is the basis for wisdom.

When we have concentration, we will have wisdom and can see that this is an illusory world.

THE LITTLE HEART

Our tiny heart,

it suffers a lot.

This tiny heart

When it suffers, it suffers mortally.

Nothing can be brought to console it.

When it is hot, it is hotter than flame.

When it is in sorrow,

it is sadder than anything else, nothing can compare.

We have to prepare.

Prepare our heart to be indifferent.

Prepare our heart and ourselves to be calm.

When any incident occurs in our family life, we will not be distressed.

PAINS OF HUMAN BEINGS 

Having bodily pain - don't allow the mind to suffer too.

Having physical illnes - don't allow mental illness.

Pains in the body and mind they are both great pains?

It's alright to have physical pain. 

But don't allow mental pain. 

It's alright to have physical illness.

Don't allow mental illness. 

When one's mind is ill, one's body is also ill.

But one who is physically ill can be cured, for one's mind is not ill.

Therefore one must protect one's mind from illness.

THE ACCUMULATION OF MERIT

The accumulatione of merit is meditation.

That is to practice controlling one's mind to experience peace.

If we expect merit from outside,

only greed, anger and hatred results.

There are always calamities, and one cannot make up one's mind at all.

But when one is able to meditate.

The mind will be calm.

The hatred, once inside, the desire for revenge one has, will be cut out and abandoned.

Our mind will be happier.

The mind that used to be emotional, full of anger and worry, will be eliminated bit by bit.

The more one meditates, the more one will see merit... 

The core of Buddhism.

CONSIDER YOUR BREATHING TO FIND TRANQUILITY

The study of Buddhism is the study of oneself because the texts that the Buddha taught are the teaching from the heart.

In the past, he had many changes of heart and had a variety of thoughts. The Buddha was then unable to find the Dhamma, unable to find heaven, and unable to find Nibbana. But when he found a peaceful mind, the Buddha found panna (wisdom), samadhi (concentration) and reached Nibbana.

In the past, the Buddha could not control his breathing. But when he sat under the Bodhi tree, the Buddha considered his breathing :-

How does one inhale?

How does one exhale?

What is short breathing?

What is long breathing?

What is rough breathing?

What is smooth breathing?

He found emptiness.

He found the light. He found the wisdom.

That is the way, the Buddha found the Dhamma. He found the truthful Dhamma from consideration of breathing in and out.

HAVE TO CAST A SPELL ON ONESELF

The Dhamma is the teaching of the Buddha.

The Buddha teaches us to use it as a mirror to reflect ourselves. He does not teach us to use it to correct others.

Day or night, no matter if it is this year or last year, we do not have to correct others.

They are always as they are.

The sun and the moon are always the same.

They cannot cast a spell to make anybody good or bad.

It is only ourselves, our minds that need correction we need a spell to make us good, to eradicate evils, to let goodness overcome suffering and to leave only peace with us.

HUMAN SUFFERING

Having a mind that can think, but being unable to control our thoughts to just think good, our mind will think both good and bad thoughts. We think that we think well, but it turns bad and causes suffering. Sometimes we think that it is a good thought but when we put it into practice, it turns out to be a bad thought and causes suffering.

Our thought cannot stop at its source. It is not straight, not certain. When we suffer, we keep it and accumulate it. It multiplies until it cannot be extinguished. We become worried, anxious and this burdens the mind.

This is because we are not conscious we have no wisdom to ignore our thoughts. So we should not think thoughts which are not good because they cause suffering. We should think thoughts which give happiness, we should think only good thoughts and should not think of the bad ones.

But it cannot be avoided. When something bad happens, we think a lot about it.

This is surely human suffering. We do not correct our own thoughts. Most of us change our thoughts by expressing them to others, or by enjoyment, eating, dancing, trying to extinguish them by other methods, but when we come back home, the suffering returns.

Nothing can stop our mental suffering.

Nothing can stop mental anxieties.

Therefore when we go to the temple, we come to change our thoughts. This is called becoming new persons in religion; to find new lives in religion.

Then we think good thoughts, thinking of dana (giving, offering), by sacrifice to support and help those who are in trouble, to give what they need. After giving them, what we get in return from having given is to become happy. We can give what we love, others also love it; they need it, so when we give it away, they can use it, eat it, or have it facilitate their lives. They are very happy that we have given it to them; we are very happy that we can sacrifice, this is because we are not attached to that wealth.

If we are able to give we should train to keep Sila (precept, rules). This is being good in deeds and words.

In the past, we did not have Sila, we were not good. When we spoke, we used bad words; we acted improperly such as drinking spirits, getting drunk or anything.

After practicing the precepts, we control our body and speech, thus bringing order and calmness in our hearts.

When we are calm, peacefulness brings happiness. It is the same as we are here, sitting nicely, everyone is calm. But if one walks, one sneezes, one coughs, one speaks or chats, there will be no calmness and no happiness. When it is not in order, there is no calmness, it will cause unhappiness.

Sila is like a lot of people sitting together in order, like thousands of people sitting in the temple in order, not making a lot of noise.

Sila is like that.Samadhi is concentration .Concentration on what? Concentrating on the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha.

Samadhi leads to calmness which is being able to control distraction, such as being upset by being deceived, by being disappointe, or being deeply unhappy because of being unsuccessful in business or being afraid of losing money being unhappy with our family, our neighbours anxieties about past things we have done and about the future that has not happened.

When we think about something and cannot get rid of it, we are sad, we are pleased, or we are anxious.

When we are like that, we should meditate immediately.

Meditation will rid us of anxieties immediately.

Meditation will rid us of such emotions.

The mind will begin to be happy. Meditation makes human beings happy. It can cure the suffering mind.

First we practise Khanika-Samadhi (momentary concentration), the meditation that can calm the mind for a while not to think of things that cause suffering.

If we meditate until we reach Upacara Samadhi (access concentration) the mind will be calm for a long while.

When we think again, we will feel that we think less. The mind is calmer and happier. That is Upacara Samadhi. It brings wisdom and understanding. This way towards mental peace is the best way.

When we meditate more, we will reach Appana Samadhi (Jhana concentration). At this stage, when we suffer we will be able to control our mind to be happy immediately. When we suffer we can control our mind to calm down immediately, the mind will not think,we can control it. All calamities that occur will be banished immediately.

Thus meditation is the way to control (rid oneself of) suffering. There is no better method than training our mind to be calm.

The Dhamma of the Buddha is the way to extinguish suffering in the mind of everybody, and everyone can practise it.