THE TRUTH: BASICS OF BUDDHISM
by Priyaka Rangana
As I think, the main action that we can take to protect Buddhism is to bring this invaluable teaching and practice into our life. Whatever we do, we can easily do that in line with the practices of Buddhism. People who would like will follow us while others will renounce us. We should be ready for this. I mean even some friends will renounce us, not the other way around.
To start with, you may set aside all your worries for few minutes (10 -30 min), every day for a silent retreat. Just watch your breath. In the beginning you need to find a secluded place but later you will be able practice it even at busy places. I prefer to call this “Do nothing to be successful”. Every intellectual may read the book or at least first chapter from "Freedom from the Known" by J Krishnamurthi before learning Dhamma.
I believe that you all will have got some time to set aside your every day burden to watch your breath. Having said that, you may have already come across the following realizations
1. Your mind wanders much faster than you imagine
2. You may have felt aversion towards many disturbances that occur from outside (ex : noise) or within ( ex: pain in the legs if you sit)
3. You may have noticed inner chattering is very strong.
These will bring insight to you that un-satisfactoriness (Dukka) Exists. This is quite an enlightenment. I mean understanding that Dukka exists. For an example, we may think that we are fortunate than the people in Ethiopia, but un-satisfactoriness you experience when you don’t get what you want is the same as what a poor person in Ethiopia experiences when he doesn't get food that he wants. From today onward you have more reference when you watch breath. Now you can watch how Dukka arising as well.
To elaborate Dukka more in detail; followings are the main un-satisfactoriness every human being goes through, irrespective of race, status, country, or to which religion he/she belongs.
1. Having unwanted births ( Jathipi Dukka)
2. Having unwanted maturity/Aging (Jarapi Dukka)
3. Having unwanted deaths (Marananpi Dukka)
4. Departed of loved ones( Piya Vippa yogo Dukka)
5. Getting/Associate with what you don’t want (Appiya Sampayogo Dukka)
6. Not getting what you want (Yanpinchan Nalabathi thampi Dukka)
7. Sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, despair (Soka, Paridevaya, dukka, domanassa, Upayasa)
By now, you have already figured out that main activities of life are greed (wanting, wanting to become) and aversion (not wanting, not wanting to become). We may be spending most of your tranquil time also we in struggling between these two. What you may don’t know is, not only this particular time, 99% of your life is either attached to what you want with greed or attached to what you don’t want with aversion. Hence cause for un-satisfactoriness is attachment (Thanha – often translated as greed). The things you like would never last long as you think and things you don’t like may last longer than you want. Life is mainly a struggle to keep the things longer or shorter. Not willing to accept the transient nature of Dhamma (phenomena) arising. Here, you have experience cause for un-satisfactoriness or the second noble truth. Isn’t this expanding your enlightenment? Buddha has showed us that something we should not depend on- Attachment
Since by experience you may know by now, there is nothing other than Sensual Pleasure (kama Tanha), wanting to become ( Bava Thanha) and wanting not to become (Vibava Thanha) that brings unhappiness to human being. After understanding this, every one may want to know how this can be eradicated or removed.
There are 4 things to practice to remove the causes for unhappiness. They are;
1. Caga (giving without expecting anything back): You may practice this with friends, relatives and even with you immediate family. Do all your duties without expecting anything in return.
2. Pati Nissagga (untying all knots ): When the world is not acting according to your expectation, untie all the links from them. Be an observer. Watch them calmly, quietly but with full attention like a small child watching a fleet of fish coming to a shore. Do not involve with what is happening around you.
3. Mutti (freeing the mind): Mind is the forerunner; it always acts according to past or future. Try to free the mind from time shaft, understand the arising and passing away, here and now. Freeing the mind by not accumulating Karma which brings results in the future.
4. Analaya (not leaving any past action- good or bad, to leave residue in your heart); See how mind tricks you by bringing memories from past, sometimes pleasure and sometimes alarming results. Buddha said this is the cessation of unhappiness.
Path to liberation (Majjima Patipada); Let us turn the light on or let the wisdom arise within us. This will help us not to be astray with less rights and rituals (Seelabatha Paramasa ) which should be abandoned when a person becomes a stream winner (Sowan).
1. Samma Ditti – Correcting your views, especially the understanding of noble truths about finding happiness. Unhappiness exists – needs to understand the cause for unhappiness- should realize the path to eradicate the unhappiness – should be practiced.
2. Samma Sankappa – Right intentions / aspirations of every act of ours be as follows
a. Nekkamma Sankappa- Act without expecting anything back ie. avoid accumulation of Kamma.
b. Avyapada Sankappa- Every act of ours should encourage good will of others and us.
c. Avihimsa Sankappa- Every act of ours should be harmless to others and us
In the path these two were categorized as Wisdom or Panna. When the light (wisdom) is there you see the things as they are which in turn help you to go on the path without being astray.
3. Samma Vaca – this avoid micca vaca ie- false speech - Musavada ( we can avoid this by be truthful when necessary or observe Noble silence if truth bring harms to you or other party) Harsh speech – Parusa vaca (always use kind words instead) Gossiping/slanderous speech - Pisuna vaca and idle speech – Sampappalapa( always have profitable discussions instead)
4. Samma Kammantha – Right Action Avoids taking life ( avoid Pananthi patha) Avoids taking what is not given. ( avoid adinanadana) Avoid indulge in sensual pleasure( avoid Kamesu Mittyachara)
5. Samma Ajeeva- right livelihood -avoid earning your living in unwholesome manners. avoid selling toxicants, animal husbandry for meat, slavery or providing people for prostitution, selling weapon and poison.
After reading this you may have figure out how many rich people are not living a noble life though they get recognition in the society. However, when you keep the panna in front of you, it is easy to walk in this path. What we have to do is slowly change our course of actions to be in the Noble path.
6. Right Effort ( Samma Vayama): Most of the people think doing good is Right effort. However, Buddha`s teaching goes far beyond that.
a. Try to control already arouse unwholesome deeds.
b. Try to avoid arisen of unwholesome deeds which are not arisen yet.
c. Try to maintain wholesome deeds already arisen
d. Try to arisen wholesome deeds which are not yet arisen.
7. Right mindfulness (Samma Sati).
a. Be mindful about bodily actions (Kaye Kayanupassana).
b. Be mindful about feelings or sensations (Vedananu passana).
c. Be mindful about arising and passing away of mind (Chittanu passana).
d. Be mindful about phenomena (Dhammanu passana) this is mainly to understand how things are arising due to causes ( ie Causality and more deeply dependent origination)
8. Stillness of the mind (Right concentration or Samma Samadhi).
When Right mindfulness is arising mind start getting still by itself.
Where nana can be arising. This will help the person to attained Sotapanna (stream winner) or Sakadagami (once returner), Anagami (non returner) or an Arhant (who attained Nibbana)
When you become a stream winner Sakkaya Ditti, Vicikitca, Seelabatha Paramasa will be eradicated for good, Buddha Guaranteed us that person will not coming to 4 hell realms in his any future life time.
I reiterate again, Dukka must be comprehended Samudaya must be eradicated Niroda must be realized. Path must be practiced
This is the way to happiness forever. ........
NOTE : in the path word right means absence of greed ( Raga), hatred ( dvesha) and ignorance ( Moha)