Phra Maha Boowa Nanasampanno
All types of Kammatthana - dhamma are for controlling the "outgoing exuberance" of the heart. The heart which is not controlled by a Kammathana is liable to the arising of outgoing exuberance throughout life. This is so from infancy to old age, it is so with the rich and the poor, with the clever and the stupid, with those in high and low position in life, with the blind, deaf, paralysed, maimed, deformed, and so on endlessly.
In Buddhism such people are considered to be still at the age of a heart with outgoing exuberance. Their hearts have no greatness, they find no contentment, they are ill fated as regards happiness of heart, and when they die they lose in all ways like a tree which may have many branches, flowers, and fruit, but if its main root is damaged it will die and lose its greatness and everything else. But unlike the body of a human being who has died, the trunk or branches of the tree may still be useful for some other purpose.
The baneful effect of the outgoing exuberance of a heart which does not have Dhamma as its guardian, is that it never finds true happiness, and even if happiness does arise due to the outgoing exuberance of the heart searching for it and finding it, it will be happiness of the type in which one is (like an actor) playing a part, which increases the outgoing exuberance, making the heart go increasingly in the wrong direction, and not the type of happiness which is truly satisfying.
SAMADHI - which means calm or stability of heart, The heart on the other hand, does not want to take the medicine, and the MEDICINE is the KAMMATIHANA.
"Outgoing exuberance" of the heart has been the enemy of all beings for countless ages, and a person who wants to subdue the outgoing exuberance of his own heart will need to compel his heart to take the MEDICINE which is the KAMMATTHANA.
Taking the medicine means training ones heart in Dhamma and not allowing it to go its own way, for the heart always likes to have outgoing exuberance as a companion. In other words, taking the medicine means that the heart brings Dhamma into itself as its guardian.
The Dhamma which is the guardian of the heart is called the kammatthana.
There are forty types of Kammatthana which variously accord with the different temperaments of people. They include:
1. The 10 Kasina (Devices for gazing at and concentrating upon)
2. The 10 Asubha (Contemplation of the states of the decomposition of a dead body)
3. The 10 Anussati (Various objects of contemplation)
4. The 4 Brahmavihara (Friendliness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity)
5. The 1 Aharapatikkulasanna (Recollecting the loathsomeness of food)
6. The 1 Catudhatuvavatthana (Defining the four elements)
7. The 4 Arupa (Developing the four form less Jhanas)
Here we will confine ourselves to the consideration of a few of these methods which are in general use and which are found to give satisfactory results. They include:
1. Contemplation of the thirty-two parts of the body, including: Kesa (hair of the head), Loma (hair of the body), Nakha (nails), Danta (teeth), Taco (skin),...etc. This first group of parts is called the Five Kammatthana .
2. Contemplation of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha .
3. Anapanasati (Mindfulness on breathing).
Whichever method is used it should suit one's character, for characters differ, and to teach that everyone should use only one type of Kammathana may well prove to be a hindrance to some people, thus preventing their attainment of the results which they should attain.
When one finds the type of meditation that suits one's character, one should set one's mind to begin doing the practice with a preparatory repetition (Parikamma), such as, Kesa (hair of the head). One should then repeat the word Kesa, but one should repeat it mentally and not loud, and at the same time one should keep one's attention fixed upon the hair of the head. If however, one finds that thinking, on its own, is not able to capture the heart, one may repeat the preparatory repetition in the manner of a chant so that the sound captivates the heart and it becomes calm and quiet. One should continue repeating the preparatory repetition until the heart has become calm and then one can stop. But whichever preparatory repetition is used, one should retain conscious awareness of that Kammatthana. Thus in the foregoing example of Kesa , one should retain conscious awareness of the hair on one's head.
If one uses one of the preparatory repetitions Buddho, Dhammo, or Sangho), one should set up knowledge of it just in the heart alone. These are not like the other types of Kammatthana, for here one should repeat Buddho (or Dhammo, or Sangho ) so that it is in continuous contact with the heart and remains there until the one who repeats the Buddho of the preparatory repetition and the one who knows, who is the heart, are found to be identical.
If it suits ones character better to use the preparatory repetition Dhammo or Sangho, one should repeat it so that it is in contact with the heart and remains there until it is found to be identical with the heart. This is done in the same way as the Kammathana Buddho .
Anapanasati Bhavana (the development of awareness of breathing) uses the breath as the objective support of the heart and consists in knowing and mindfulness (Sati) of in and out breathing.
In becoming aware of breathing, one should at first fix attention on the feeling of the breath at the nose or the palate (roof of mouth)2, as it suits one, because this is where the breath initially makes contact, and one may use this as a marker point for holding one's attention. Having done this until one has become skilled, and the in and out breathing becomes finer and finer, one will progressively come to know and understand the nature of the contact of in and out breathing, until it seems that the breathing is located either in the middle of the chest or the solar plexus.3
After this one must just fix one's attention on breathing at that place and one must no longer be concerned about fixing attention on the breathing at the tip of the nose or the palate, nor about following it in and out with awareness.
In fixing attention on the breath one may also repeat Buddho in time with the breath as a preparatory repetition to supervise the in and out breathing, in order to assist the one who knows and to make the one who knows clear with regard to the breath. Then the breath will appear more and more clearly to the heart.
After having become skilled with the breath, every time one attends to the breathing process, one should fix attention at the point in the middle of the chest or the solar plexus.
2 This method of practice is not done with one's mouth open so the breath as physical air does not pass over the palate. But nevertheless many people feel at this point as though the breath was passing back and forth.
3 The breath is seen (or felt) in the middle of the chest or the solar plexus, much as it is felt at the tip of the nose in the earlier stages of the practice. On being questioned, the author said that the middle of the chest and the solar plexus were one place located at the bottom end of the breast bone. But he also said that if one understood them to be two seperate places, either of which could be the location for awareness of breathing, one would not be wrong.
In particular, it is important to have mindfulness established. One must establish mindfulness to control the heart so that one feels the breath at every moment while it is entering or leaving, whether short or long, until one knows clearly that the breathing is becoming progressively finer with every breath and until finally it becomes apparent that the finest and most subtle breath and the heart have converged and become one.4 At this stage one should fix attention on the breath exclusively within the heart, and there is no need to worry about the preparatory repetition, for in becoming aware of the breath as entering and leaving, and as short or long, the preparatory repetition is only for the purpose of making the Citta become subtle.
When one has attained the most subtle level of breathing, the Citta will be bright, cool, calm, happy, and just knowing the heart and there will be no connection with any disturbing influence. Even if finally at that time, the breath gives up its relationship with oneself, there will be no anxiety because the Citta will have let go of the burden and one will just have knowledge of the heart alone, In other words, it will be non-dual (Ekaggatarammana)
This is the result that comes from developing the practice of Anapanasati Kammatthana. But it should also be understood that whichever Kammatthana is practised, and whoever practises it, this is the kind of result that should be attained.
4 In other words, it seems as if the Citta is the breathing, and as if the breathing is the Citta.
Concerning the preparatory development (Parikamma Bhavana); by using one of these forms of Kammatthana for controlling the heart with mindfulness, one will gradually be able to curb the outgoing exuberance of the heart. Calm and happiness will then arise and develop, and there will be only one thing influencing the heart, which will be a knowing of the heart alone without any disturbance or distraction, for there will be nothing which can irritate or disturb the heart to make it fall away from this state. This is the nature of happiness of heart, just the heart being free from all vain imaginings and thought creations.
When this state is attained, the person who is doing the practice will know that which is wondrous in his heart, the like of which he has never encountered before. This is a deeply felt state of happiness, more so than anything which he has previously experienced.
It is also possible that while practising a given type of Kammathana, the characteristics of that form of Kammatthana may appear to some people. For example, hair of the head, or hair of the body, or nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews; or bones, etc., any of which may appear and be seen clearly with the heart, as though one were looking at it with one's eyes. If this happens, one should pay attention to it and see it clearly until it becomes fixed in one's heart, and the longer one can pay attention to it, retain it in this way and fix it in one's heart, the better.
When the above object has been intimately fixed in one's heart, one must appreciate it in the right way by
attending to the unpleasant and loathsome aspects of it, for this is the nature of all the parts of the body, both internally and externally. Then divide the body into parts, or into groups of parts depending on their nature. One may take such groups as hair of the head, hair of the body, flesh, bones, and so on; and one may contemplate them as rotting and decayed, as being burnt, as being eaten by vultures, crows and dogs, and see them breaking down into their basic elements earth, water, fire, air.
Whether one has much or little skill, doing the practice in this way will be of great value when it is done for the purpose of making the heart skilled in seeing the body, for the purpose of seeing truly what is in the body, and for the purpose of reducing and eliminating delusion in regard to the nature of the body, this delusion being what gives rise to sexual craving (raga tanha) which is one aspect of the outgoing exuberance of the heart. One's heart will then become progressively more calm and subtle.
It is important when parts of the body appear, that one should not ignore them and let them pass by without interest, nor must one be afraid of them, but one should fix them right in front of one then and there.
When a person who practises meditation has seen this body until it has truly become fixed in his heart, he will feel wearied of himself and will feel the sorrow and misery of himself so that he is horrified and shocked. In addition, the heart of a person to whom the body appears, and who faces up to it while practising meditation will be able to attain Samadhi very quickly, and the practice of seeing the body will make his wisdom clear at the same time as his heart becomes calm.5
A person who does not see the parts of the body should understand that all preparatory meditation (Parikamma Bhavana) is for the purpose of leading the Citta to a state of both calm and happiness, so one should not feel doubtful about any of these methods that they will not lead the Citta to a state of calm, and later on to see danger6 with wisdom. One must be determined in whichever meditation one is practising, and repeat whichever preparatory repetition suits one, without becoming disheartened nor feeling like giving up.
It should be realised that whichever method of meditation is practised, it leads to the same goal as all the other methods, and it should also be realised that all these methods of Dhamma will lead the heart to peace and happiness in other words, to NIBBANA which is the final goal of all types of meditation development. Therefore one must do one's own meditation practice and not be concerned about other types of meditation, otherwise one will be in a state of doubt and uncertainty, and unable to decide which of them is the right way, which would be a constant obstacle to one's Citta, thus preventing one from carrying out one's original resolve.
5 Because one is using parts of the body as one's Kammatthana, once the Samadhi develops, wisdom will automatically develop, seeing the true nature of the body as Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and loathsome. In other types of practice, such as Anapanasati, it is necessary to make the effort to turn towards contemplations of the body and such like, once Samadhi is developed, but with contemplation of the body it is inherently part of the practice.
6 Danger means the danger of this body which may die at any time from any one of many causes, and also the danger of the defilements (Kilesas) which may lead one to bad or terrible realms and births.
Instead, one must determine that one will be really mindful in the practice, and one must not arrange Sila, samadhi, and Panna in any special order, nor let them go away from the heart, because the defilements (Kilesa) of passion, hate, delusion, and the rest, dwell in the heart and nobody has arranged them in order.7 When one thinks in wrong and faulty ways, it arouses the defilements in one's heart. One does not decide nor arrange that this one will come earlier, and that one later, for if it is a defilement immediately one thinks wrongly, and whatever type it is, so it arises, and they all make one troubled or passionate in the same way. The defilements are always bound to be of this nature, and it is of no consequence in which order they arise for all of them are able to make one troubled and passionate.
Therefore in curing the defilements, one must not wait to develop Sila first, then Samadhi second, and Pannya(wisdom) third
which may be called: developing Samadhi stage by stage for this is always in the past and future and one would never be able to attain calm and happiness.
7 This passage means that one must not develop Sila, Samadhi and Pannya concurrently, because the Kilesas arise higgledy-piggledy, and at any time one may require the methods of either Sila, Samadhi or Pannya to cure particular types of Kilesas. Thus one could not successfully deal with more than a part of the arising Kilesas if one were to develop these three in order, one after the other.