LUANGPHOR SANGWAHN KHEMMAKO
Translated by Brigitte Schrottenbacher
(5 OBJECTS OF IMPURITY)
tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa
(Homage to the Blessed
One, the Noble One, The Perfectly Enlightened One)
is how we respect the Buddha. The Buddha is in our mind, the Dhamma
is in our mind and the Sangha of the Noble Ones, is in our mind.
Whenever we practise meditation we should do like that. Fold your
hands and lift them up to your forehead. Then sit with straight
back, your right hand on top of your left hand, right leg on top of
your left leg.
we practise the contemplation of the 5 objects of impurity
(pañcakammatthana). These are: The hair on your head (kesa),
bodily hair (loma), finger- and toenails (nakha), teeth (danta),
skin (taco) and seeing your bones. By contemplating this, you can
know what the Buddha taught. That would be enough, you don't have to
study a lot. Now, we try to know our body and mind. We are aware.
First we should consider that we have accumulated perfections in the
past, so now we are here, able to practise meditation. We close our
eyes and do not allow our mind to go anywhere else - let it rest
within ourselves. We know the Buddha is in our mind, the Dhamma is
in our mind and the Sangha is in our mind. So we don't have to think
about anything outside of ourselves.
concentrate on the hair on your head. If you can see them, you know
you see, if you cannot see them just know them. The Buddha taught us
to know our body and mind. When the mind is comfortable we know, if
it is calm - we know it, if the body feels calm - we know it. Body
and mind are not the same. While we practise meditation, painful
feelings can arise in the body. There are pleasant feelings and
there are unpleasant feelings. Happiness we call a pleasant feeling,
pain we call unpleasant feeling. These are the khandhas (five
aggregates or the five grasped-at groups). When they arise now, we
know them. That is what the Buddha taught, that is what the Dhamma
and the Sangha taught.
loke", the Buddha is born in this world; "Dhammo loke",
the Dhamma is born in this world; "Sangho loke", the
Sangha is born in this world. These three treasures arise in the
meditator who sees the Dhamma. We practise to know the Dhamma of
which the Buddha became enlightened. Now, while we are sitting here,
right hand on top of the left hand, right leg on top of the left
leg, with straight back. Sitting straight helps us to keep up our
mindfulness. Consider that you meditate to know the Dhamma of the
Buddha. This Dhamma of the Buddha, we can experience it now. We know
we found the real true refuge - the Buddha and the Dhamma. There is
no other refuge than the Buddha-Dhamma. We had to live our life to
this point, where we could meet the teacher who instructs us, so
that this Dhamma can arise in our heart. Knowing and understanding
that there is no other refuge than the Buddha and the Dhamma, shows
that we progress in our meditation practise.
have to develop patience and endurance. Know the hair on your head,
look at the hair on your head. Your bodily hair grows all over your
body, know them, see them, know that you see them. The nails on your
finger, know them, know fingernails, know the nails on your toes.
Teeth are in your mouth, know them, see them, know that you see the
teeth in your mouth. Our body is covered by skin. We know it and try
to see it and we are aware that we practise meditation. Our mind
knows all of this. We know the five kammatthana objects, we know
inside our body there is the heart, there are muscles, veins and
bones. All we see there is not nice, not beautiful. And again we
know that we sit here in meditation. We watch our own body and mind.
teacher guides us, so that we develop right concentration. We know
and we see and we develop more clarity and understanding about the
Dhamma of the Buddha. We can see the truth of the Dhamma which the
Buddha taught. Consider that what you see is impermanent, this is
what the Buddha taught. Nothing of those things arising can remain.
All those things have to cease.
our eyebrows, we can see the Dhamma that makes our mind progress. We
can see impermanence - if this becomes clear to us, then old age
will become clear. We have to become old. All that we see now is
impermanent, it has to fade away. So now, we should make up our
minds to develop wisdom - wholeheartedly. We are meditators. We sit
here in order to develop mindfulness and clear understanding of what
we see (sati-sampajañña). Knowing and seeing.
Sati-sampajañña is going to wake us up. It lets
understanding of the true nature of our body and mind arise. We
start to know and to see. Again consider that you are experiencing
the Dhamma of which the Buddha became enlightened. Seeing the true
nature of this body - that's what we try to do now. So we develop
vipassana-ñana (insight knowledge). What we did not know
before and what we didn't see before, now we develop this knowledge.
We can find this knowledge only in our own body and mind. What the
teacher teaches us now is what the Buddha experienced when he
attained enlightenment. It is what the Sangha of the Noble Ones
realized. They became enlightened through that knowledge. This will
make our mind satisfied. Satisfaction and happiness will arise about
this Dhamma of the Buddha. Our mind will open and become fresh.
we go, we should be aware of having good sila. Morality watches over
our body, speech and mind. Then consider mindfully what you
experience, this is developing the four foundations of mindfulness
(satipatthana). This is what the teacher wants us to do, developing
these four foundations of mindfulness. When they arise, we know.
When suffering arises in the body, we know and we slowly change the
posture, then we see that suffering disappears and happiness arises
in the body. A meditator has to know happiness and he has to know
suffering when they arise. Then weariness will come up in our mind.
We know this - we know that it is weariness with all conditioned
formations (sankhara). Conditioned things have the nature of
practising, pleasant feelings arise and unpleasant feelings arise,
we know them all the time. Know and wisdom will arise. Nibbida-ñana
- the knowledge of boredom and disenchanment with all conditioned
formations will arise.
practise to overcome suffering. When the mind becomes calm and we
have overcome the five hindrances (nivarana), then the five jhana
factors arise. They are: vitakka (applied thought), vicara
(sustained thought), piti (rapture), sukha (happiness, bliss) and
one-pointedness (ekaggata). They will arise by themselves in our
mind; when we come to that state, they arise naturally. Those who
come to that state do not see as they used to see before. Some
special knowledge arises. If you feel laziness coming up in your
mind, consider again and again that you sit here to experience the
Dhamma and the happiness of the Enlightened One - make the effort
again and again and you will be successful. Think of the Buddha and
of the Enlightened Ones. Do not let your mind go anywhere else.
Know, it will be for your happiness of body and mind.
when we practise, fear can arise in the mind. Then you should think
of the Buddha, of heavenly beings (devas) or your teacher and the
fear will disappear. If fear comes up, know - now we know about the
real nature of our body and mind. Think of the Buddha. Think it's
good that this Dhamma arises in your mind, you are on the way to
understand the Dhamma. We should think like this when we come out of
the state of samadhi. When we enter the state of samadhi we think -
the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are in the mind. So we fill up
our mind with the good Dhamma. We invite the Buddha into our mind.
Then rapture and light will arise in the mind of the meditator. This
is what the teacher wants us to do.
out of the state of concentration, we should fold our hands in front
of the forehead. It doesn't matter if we sit for a short or a long
time, we should always respect the Buddha after coming out of
concentration. We know we were sitting in meditation to train our
mind. We entered jhana and we came out of jhana, we know ourselves
very well. We fold our hands on the level of our forehead, open the
eyes and see our hands. When we see them, we know that we see. Then
put the right hand slowly down on your right knee, put the left hand
on your left knee. Stay like that for a few more minutes, knowing it
with a calm mind. This helps us to develop the seeing of our body
and mind by the eye of Dhamma. If the knowledge of the divine eye
has not arisen yet, then this helps us increase our knowing by
heart. Then bring your mind into a comfortable state. Consider,
those who are not lazy and careless, who care about themselves, will
realize the cessation of suffering. Practising like this will help
you to develop the knowledge of knowing and seeing your body and
mind in the posture of coming out of samadhi. What the teacher
teaches here is knowing ourselves and our actions very well.
is suffering and there is happiness and there is neither suffering
nor happiness. If you know that then your understanding of the
Buddha's teaching has grown. The teacher wants "Devadhamma"
to arise in our mind. One day our life-energy will be finished and
we have to leave this body. When this happens and we have already
progressed in our practice of Dhamma, we have faith, the five
hindrances have been overcome and the five jhana factors have been
developed, then the mind doesn't wander here and there.
Stream-winner (sotapanna - one who has realized the first of four
levels of Enlightenment) has the first jhana (pathamajjhana) as a
permanent mental state. He is called someone who knows himself, he
is at home in himself and certain kind of special knowledge has
arisen in him. Everyone the teacher guided to that state, can see
the kammatthana - the truth of Dhamma. It means he will see anicca,
dukkha and anatta (impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and non-self).
The knowledge that everything changes and that there is no self, no
substance to be found, will arise.
is the Dhamma that the Buddha realized. The knowledge of change that
the Buddha had, showed him that he was born as an animal in some
former existences, as an elephant for example. The Buddha knew many,
many of his former existences very clearly and he knew the former
existences of others exactly. If this knowledge of impermanence
arises in us, then we can be called someone who is awakened, knowing
and fully open.
Buddha taught his students to become Noble Ones. He guided them to
reach this goal in this very existence. When this is done, that
person is called a high and noble being (ariya). If only the first
step to Nibbana is reached (sotapanna), then this person doesn't
need more than seven more existences to become a fully enlightened
being, even if he stopped practising any meditation at all. His mind
has changed so much. A sotapanna cannot go down to be reborn in a
lower realm of existence (as animal, hungry ghost or in hell). If he
has developed jhana, then he won't even be reborn as a human being
but attains his full enlightenment in a higher realm as a heavenly
being, because his mind - already in the present - is the mind of a
heavenly being. He has unshakeable faith in the Buddha-Dhamma. His
mind is composed of the five jhana factors. Reaching this state, a
being usually reaches Nibbana in that very existence. Consider that.
When laziness comes up, cut it off. Sloth and torpor do not allow
you to realize this knowledge. They close off the entrance to that
knowledge. If the mind is lazy and you do not want to change this,
then the five jhana factors will not arise.
we have to overcome the five hindrances. The defilements which
trouble us and even persuade us to stop practising arise from those
five hindrances. If we can overcome these then the knowledge of
contemplation in terms of Dhamma arises. When this Dhamma arises in
the meditator's mind and he doesn't understand, then he should ask
his teacher. A qualified meditation master will know from his own
experience and will guide him safely to understand. Once
understanding arises, unshakeable faith (saddha) will arise. Such a
person is called one who has entered the real Sangha of the Buddha's
the true knowledge of the Buddha arises the body becomes light, the
mind becomes light, the meditator sees reality as it is. If you
practise at home try to do it continously. 5 or 10 minutes a day and
if the samadhi gets better, you can go up to half an hour or an
hour. Do it by and by. When we enter concentration we will realize
that our faith is growing, we know this is a result of the practice
we do and we will see that conditioned things cannot trouble us so
much anymore, there will be less worry.
that old age, sickness and death trouble all sentient beings and
that there is no other way to overcome them than the way the Buddha
taught. His teaching guides us surely and safely out of this whole
mass of suffering. When the mind enters bhavanga (a state of
sub-consciousness), the noble path (magga) arises. The divine eye
starts to see, the divine ear starts to hear and the divine
knowledge of tongue, nose and body will start to work. The mind
knows natural phenomena (sabhava dhamma) when they arise. This
knowledge will arise, but first we have to overcome the five
hindrances. Then we will know what we never knew and see what we
never saw before.
should meditate every day as you eat every day. If we stop eating we
have to die. We should do it every day. This practice makes us a
Noble One every day and one day we will overcome suffering for sure.
it is good to change our posture because tiredness or pain arises.
We can practise meditation in every posture: while sitting, walking,
standing or lying down. Try to calm down your mind in every posture.
Some people got enlightened while walking, others while standing up
or sitting. We can do our walking meditation whenever we walk,
wherever we walk. If we go shopping, we can know every step, right
step “Bud-”, left step “-dho”. “Buddho”,
know that all the time. So we become a person who applies
mindfulness all the time. Whenever our right foot touches the floor
“Bud-”, the left one “-dho” should arise in
the mind. We should make this a habit and we will develop
mindfulness and wisdom.
and mind should not be mixed up. Whenever a painful feeling arises
we should know it is a bodily phenomenon. That's its nature, and if
we are sad or unhappy about it, then we call this suffering of the
mind. We should think of the Buddha and happiness will arise again
in our mind. That's how it works with the mind. It's not the same as
with the body. If bodily feeling arises know it, if mental feeling
arises know it. Know it and let go of it. Then khandhavimutti
(liberation from the khandhas) will happen, the liberation from the
worldly mind. But first you have to strenghten your mindfulness and
have to practise to gain knowledge. We don't know yet. Know
discomfort, know suffering; to get rid of suffering you have to
change the posture, and it will disappear. We have to increase this
perfection (parami) more and more and we will become a Noble One.
You can do this at home, too. “Buddho”: when you breathe
in “Bud-”, when you breath out “-dho”.
Practise with “Buddho”, it will lift your mind up and
you will become refreshed and open-minded. Make it your habit.
meditation helps us overcome the hindrances. For old people it's
sometimes difficult to sit comfortably. For them it's better to
practise while lying down. They should know if rapture arises while
contemplating the Dhamma in the lying posture. Jhana (absorption)
and Nibbana can happen while lying down as well. A good example is
Venerable Ananda, the closest disciple and attendant of the Buddha.
He was practising very diligently day and night for 3 months. In the
night before the first Buddhist Council was to take place he had not
yet reached Enlightenment and was very worried, because only
enlightened arahants were allowed to join the Council. He was
exausted and unhappy, so he decided to give up walking and lay down.
While getting into the lying posture, before his head touched the
pillow, he became an arahant, with all kinds of psychic powers.