Meditate Right Now
If you fail to meditate on the
phenomena and so do not know their real nature of impermanency,
and not-self, you may relive them and thus let defilements be.
This is a
case of latent defilements. Because they arise from objects, we
"object-latent." What do people cling to and why do they cling to?
cling to things or persons they have seen because they have seen.
fail to meditate on them as they arise, somehow or other grasping
Defilements are latent in whatever we see, hear, taste, etc.
If you meditate, you find
you see passes away, what you hear passes away. They pass away in
at all. Once you see them as they really are, there is nothing to
nothing to hate, nothing to cling to. If there is nothing to cling
there can be no clinging or grasping.
And you meditate right now. The
see, you meditate. You can't put it off. You may buy things on
you cannot meditate on credit. Meditate right now. Only then will
clingings not come up. Scripturally speaking, you meditate as soon
eye-door process ends and before the subsequent mind-door process
When you see a visible object, the process takes place like this:
you see the object that comes up. This is the seeing process. Then
review the object seen. This is the reviewing process. Then you
forms seen together and see the shape or material. This is the
process. Last of all, you know the concept of name. This is the
process. With objects you have never seen before, and so you do
the names of this, naming process will not occur. Of the four,
first or seeing process takes place, you see the present form, the
reality, as it rises. When the second or reviewing process takes
you review the past form, the form seen -- reality again. Both
reality -- the object seen. No concept yet. The difference is
present reality and the past reality. With the third process you
the concept of shape. With the fourth you come to the concept of
The processes that follow are all various concepts. All these are
to people not practised in insight meditation.
There are 14 thought-moments in
process of seeing. If neither seeing, hearing, nor thinking
arises, life-continuum goes on. It is identical with
rebirth-consciousness. It is the consciousness that goes on when
sleeping fast. When a visible object or any such appears,
is arrested, and seeing consciousness, etc., arises. As soon as
life-continuum ceases, a thought-moment arises adverting the
conscious-ness to the object that comes into the avenue of the
this ceases, seeing consciousness arises. When this again ceases,
receiving consciousness arises. Then comes the investigating
consciousness. Then, the conscious-ness that determines whether
seen is good or not. Then, in accordance with the determination
moral or immoral apperceptions arise violently for seven
When these cease, two retentive resultants arise. Whenthese cease,
comes subsidence into life-continuum like falling asleep. From the
adverting to retention there are 14 thought-moments. All these
one seeing consciousness. This is how the seeing process takes
one is well-practised in insight meditation, after the arising of
life-continuum following the seeing process, insight consciousness
reviews "seeing" takes place. You must try to be able to thus
immediately. If you are able to do so, it appears in your
though you were meditating on things as they are seen, as
arise. This kind of meditation is termed in the Suttas as
"He discerns things present
as they arise
here and now." -- Majjhima
"Understanding in reviewing
of present states is knowledge in arising and passing away." --
These extracts from the Suttas
show that we must meditate on present states. If you fail to
the present, apprehending arises from life-continuum. This
arises to review what has just been seen. The thought-moments
are: apprehending conscious-ness, apperceptions 7, and registering
consciousness 2 -- a total of 10 thought-moments. Every time you
ponder, these three types of consciousness and ten thought-moments
place. But to the meditator they will appear as one thought-moment
This is in conformity with the explanations in connection with the
knowledge of dissolution in Patisambhida-magga and Visuddhi-magga.
you can meditate beyond the apprehending, you may not get to
and may stay with the reality -- the object seen. But this is not
easy for the beginner.
If you fail to meditate even at
apprehending, you get to form process and name process. Then
come in. If you meditate after the emergence of graspings,
will not disappear. That is why we instruct you to meditate
before the concepts arise.
The processes for hearing,
tasting, touching, are to be understood along similar lines.
With thinking at the mind-door, if
fail to meditate immediately, subsequent processes come up after
thought. So, you meditate immediately so that they may
not arise. Sometimes, as you are
falling, sitting, touching" a thought or idea may come up in
You notice it the moment it arises. You note it and it ends right
Sometimes a wandering of the mind is about to arise. You note it
quiets down. In the words of some meditators, "it is like a
who behaves himself when shouted at 'Quiet!' "
So, if you note the moment you
touch, or perceive, no subsequent consciousness will arise to
".... you will simply have the
the thing seen, the sound of the thing heard, the sense of the
sensed, and the idea of the thing cognized."
As this extract from
the mere sight, the mere sound, the mere sense, the mere idea is
Recall them and only the real nature you have understood will
graspings. The meditator who meditates on whatever arises as it
sees how everything arises and passes away, and it becomes clear
how everything is impermanent, suffering, not self. He knows this
himself -- not because a teacher has explained it to him. This
only is the
To arrive at this knowledge needs
work. There is no guaranteeing that you will gain such
one sitting. Perhaps one in a million will. In the days of the
there are people who attained to the Path and Fruit after
listening to a
stanza. But you can't expect such things today. It was then the
himself who was teaching. He knew the disposition of his listeners
well. The listeners on their part were people of perfections. But
the preacher is just an ordinary person who preaches what little
learnt. He does not know the disposition of his listeners. It will
difficult to say that the listeners are men and women of
they had been, they would have gained deliverance in the days of
Buddha. So we cannot guarantee you will gain special knowledge at
sitting. We can only tell you that you can if you work hard
How long do we have to work?
impermanence, suffering and not self begins with the investigating
knowledge. But it does not come at once. It is preceded by purity
purity of views, and purity of transcending doubts. To speak from
level of the present-day-meditators, a specially gifted person can
this knowledge in two or three days. Most will take five, six, or
days. But they must work assiduously. Those who get slack at work
gain it even after fifteen or twenty days have passed. So I will
about working in earnest in the beginning.
Insight meditation is incessant
meditate whenever you see, hear, smell, taste, touch or
without missing any thing. But to beginners, to note everything is
impossible. Begin with several. It is easy to observe the moving
the rising and falling of the abdomen. We have already spoken
Note without a let-up rising, falling, rising, falling. As
mindfulness and concentration grow stronger, add the sitting and
touching and note rising,
As you note on, ideas may come up.
them, too: thinking, planning, knowing. They are
you are rid of them, you have not got purity of mind and will not
clear understanding of mind-matter phenomena. So, don't let them
them and get rid of them.
If unbearable feelings like
hotness, pain, or itch, appear in the body, concentrate on them
tired, tired or hot, hot as they arise. If the
to stretch or bend the limbs, note it too, desire to bend,
stretch. When you bend or stretch, every move should be noted:
bending, bending, stretching, stretching. In the same way,
rise, note every move. When you walk, note every step. When you
note it. If you lie down, note it too.
Every bodily movement made, every
that arises, every feeling that comes up, all must be noted. If
nothing in particular to note, go on noting rising, falling,
touching. You must note while eating or having a bath. If
things you see or hear particularly, note them too. Except for the
four-five-six hours you sleep, you keep noting things. You must
try to be
able to note at least one thing in a second.
If you keep on noting thus in
will, in two or three days, find your mindfulness and
strong. If not in two or three days, in five or six. Then, very
wanton thoughts come up. If they do, you are able to note them the
they come. And they pass away the moment you notice them. The
like the rising and falling and the mind noting it seem to be
You note with ease.
These are signs that your
concentration have become strong. In other words, you have
purity of mind.
Things Fall Apart
From now on, every time you note,
object noted and the mind that notes it appear two separate
come to know that the material form like the rising and falling is
thing and the mental state that notes it is another. Ordinarily,
material form and the mind that cognizes it do not seem separate.
seem one and the same thing. Your book knowledge tells you they
separate but your personal feeling has them as one. Shake your
finger. Do you see the mind that intends to shake? Can you
distinguish between that mind and the shaking? If you are sincere,
answer will be No. But to the meditator whose mindfulness and
concentration are well developed the object of attention and the
of it are as separate as the wall and the stone that is thrown to
The Buddha used the simile of the
the thread (D.i.72). Just as when you look at a string of lapis
know: the gem is threaded on a string; this is the gem, this is
the gem is threaded on, so does the meditator know: this is the
form, this is the consciousness that is aware of it, which depends
and is related to it. The Commentary says that the conscious-ness
the insight consciousness, insight knowledge, that observesthe
form. The lapis lazuli is the material form and the string is the
consciousness that observes. The thread is in the gem as the
awareness penetrates the material form.
When you note rising, the
one thing, the awareness is one thing -- only these two exist.
note falling the falling is one, the awareness is one --
two. The knowledge comes clear to you of its own accord. When you
foot in walking, one is the lifting, the other is the awareness --
these two exist. When you push it forward, the pushing and the
When you put it down, the putting down and the awareness. Matter
awareness. These two only. Nothing else.
As your concentration improves
you unders-tand how the material and mental things you have been
keep passing away each in its own time. When you note rising, the
form rising comes up gradually and passes away. When you note
form falling comes up gradually and then passes away. You also
the rising as well as the awareness passes away, the falling as
the awareness passes away. With every noting you find only arising
passing away. When noting bending, one bending and the next
get mixed up. Bends, passes away, bends, passes away -- and thus,
intention to bend, the form bending, and the awareness, come and
in its time and place. And when you note the tiredness, hotness,
these pass away as you are noting them. It becomes clear to you:
appear and then disappear, so they are impermanent.
The meditator understands for
the commentaries say, "They are impermanent in the sense of being
after becoming." This knowledge comes to him not from books nor
teachers. He understands by himself. This is real knowledge. To
what other people say is faith. To remember out of faith is
is not knowledge. You must know from your own experience. This is
important thing. Insight meditation is contemplation in order to
yourself. You meditate, see for yourself, and know -- this alone
Regarding contemplation on
the commentary says:
".... the impermanent
".... impermanence should be understood."
".... the discernment of the impermanent should be understood." --
Visuddhi-magga, i 281
This brief statement is followed
explanation: "Here, 'impermanent' are the Five Aggregates." You
that the five aggregates are impermanent. Although you may not
it by your own knowledge, you should know this much. Not only
should know that they are all suffering, all without a self. If
this much, you can take up insight meditation. This understanding
learning is given in
"If, 0 lord of devas, a
monk has heard,
'All states are not fit for adherence,' he understands all the
Majjhima Nikaya i 318
To "understand" means to meditate
mind-and-matter and be aware of it. It is the basic insight
Analytical Knowledge of Mind and Matter and the knowledge by
Conditionality. So, if you have learnt that mind and matter are
impermanent, suffering and not-self, you can begin meditating from
analysis of mind and matter.
Then you can go on to higher
like the Investigating knowledge.
"Understanding all the states, he
comprehends all of them"
So, the least qualification
required of a
beginner in insight meditation is that he must have heard or
learnt of the
impermanent, suffering, and not-self nature of mind and matter. To
Buddhists in Burma this is something they have had since
We say mind and matter are
because they come to be and then pass away. If a thing never comes
we cannot say it is impermanent. What is that thing which never
be? It is a concept.
Concepts never come to be, never
exist. Take a personal name. It comes into use from the day
is named. It appears as though it has come to be. But actually
say it in calling him. It has never come to be, it never really
you think it exists, find it.
When a child is born, the parents
a name. Suppose a boy has been named "Master Red." Before the
ceremony the name Master Red is unknown at all. But from the day
is named people begin calling him Master Red. But we can't say the
has come into being since then. The name Master Red just does not
Let's find it out.
Is the name Master Red in his
body? On his
head? On his side? On his face? No, it is not anywhere. The people
agreed to call him Master Red and that is all. If he dies, does
name die with him too? No. As long as the people do not forget it,
name will live on. So it is said, "a name or surname never gets
destroyed". Only when the people forget it will the name Mastcr
disappear. But it is not destroyed. Should someone restore it, it
come up again.
Think of the Bodhisatta's names in
Jatakas: Vessantara, Mahosadha, Mahajanaka, Vidhura, Temiya,
names were known in the times of the stories but were lost for
years until the Buddha restored them. Four asankkeyyas and a
hundred thousand kalpas ago the name Dipankara the Buddha
name Sumedha the recluse were well known. They were lost to
afterwards. But our Buddha restored them and the names are known
again. They will be known as long as the Buddha's teaching lasts.
Buddhism is gone from earth these names will be forgotten too. But
future Buddha were to speak about them again, they would become
again. So, concepts, names, are just conventions. They never
have never been and they will never be. They never arise, so we
they "pass away." Nor can we say they are impermanent. Every
like that -- no existence, no becoming, no passing away, so no
impermanence. Nibbana, although it is a reality, cannot be said to
impermanent because it never comes to be or passes away. It is to
regarded is permanent because it stands as peace for ever.
Realities other than Nibbana --
matter -- never were in the beginning. They come into being
arise causes. After coming into being they pass away. So we say
realities of mind and matter are impermanent. Take seeing, for
the beginning there was no seeing. But if the eye is good, the
comes up, there is light, your attention is drawn to it -- if
causes concur, then there is seeing. Once it has risen, it passes
more of it. So we say seeing is impermanent. It is not very easy
ordinary person to know that seeing is impermanent. Hearing
easier to understand. There was no hearing in the beginning. But
ear is good, the sound comes up, there is no barrier, your
drawn to it -- if these four factors concur, then there is
arises and then passes away. No more of it. So we say hearing is
Now you hear me talking. You hear
sound after another. Once you have heard them, they are gone.
sound, sound, sound. When I say so, you hear it,
is no more. When I say sound, you hear it, then it is gone.
how they come and pass away. The same is true of other
phenomena. They come and go. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting,
thinking, bending, stretching, moving -- all come and go away.
they keep passing away, we say they are impermanent.
Of these, the passing away of
consciousness is very clear. If your mind wanders while you are
rising, falling, you note wandering. As you note
wandering mind is no more. It is gone. It has not existed before.
about just then. Then it is gone in no time at all when noted. So
it is impermanent. The passing away of unpleasant feelings too, is
obvious. As you go on noting rising, falling, tiredness,
or pain, appears somewhere in the body. If you concentrate on it
tiredness, tiredness, etc., sometimes it disappears
sometimes it disappears at least for the time you are noting. So
impermanent. The meditator realizes its impermanent characteristic
notes its arising and passing away.
This realization of the fleeting
things is Contemplation of Impermanence. It comes from your own
experience. Mere reflection without personally experiencing it is
knowledge. Without meditating you will not know what things come
what things pass away. It is just book learning. It may be a
deed, but not real insight knowledge.
Real insight knowledge is what you
for yourself by meditating on things as they come up and pass
in the audience are lots of meditators who have come to this stage
knowledge. I am not speaking from my own experience alone. No, not
from the experience of forty or fifty disciples of mine. There are
hundreds of them. Beginners may not have such clear knowledge yet.
not quite easy. But it is not too difficult to achieve, either. If
work hard enough as we instruct, you can have it. If you don't,
Educational degrees, distinctions, honours -- all are results of
work. No pain, no gain. The insight knowledge of the Buddha, too,
As your concentration grows
will be able to see a great number of thoughts in one single act
bending or stretching of the limbs. You will see large numbers of
coming up one after another as you intend to bend or stretch. The
number when you step. There arise a great number of thoughts in
twinkling of an eye. You have to note all these fleeting thoughts
arise. If you cannot name them, just note "aware, aware."
see that there are four, five, or ten thousands arising in
succession every time you note aware. Sometimes when the
is so swift, even the word aware is no longer
Just following them with your intellect will do.
Now a thought arises, now the mind
aware of it; now another thought arises, now the observant
is aware of it. It is like the saying "a morsel of food, a stroke
stick." For every thought that arises there is the observant
to be aware of it. Thus aware, these arisings and passings away
only too plain to you. The wandering mind that arises as you
noting the rising and falling of the abdomen is caught by the
consciousness as an animal that falls direct into the snare or an
that is hit by a well-aimed stone. And once, you are aware of it,
gone. You find it as clearly as if you were holding it in your
find thus whenever consciousness arises.
When tiredness arises, you note tired,
and it is gone. It comes up again, you note it again, and it is
again. This kind of passing away will be made all the more clearer
higher insight. Tired, noted, gone; tired, noted, gone -- they
one by one. There is no connection between one tiredness and the
same with pain. Pained, noted, gone; pained, noted, gone -- each
gone at each noting. One pain does not mix with the other. Each
distinct from the other.
To ordinary people there is no
interruption in tiredness or pain. It seems to tire or pain you
continuously for a long time. In fact, there is no tiredness or
pain for a
long while. One tiredness and the next, one pain and the next,
short pieces, very separate ones. The meditator sees this as he
When you note rising, the
comes up gradually and passes away by degrees. When you note falling,
the falling comes up and passes away by degrees. Common people
ignorant of this fact think of the rising and falling in terms of
absurd abdominal shape. So from their own experience they think
meditators too, will only be seeing the absurd abdominal shape.
accusations to this effect. Don't speak by guess, please. Try and
yourselves, let us warn. If you work hard enough, you will find
When you note bending, you
clearly how it moves and passes, moves and passes, one moves after
another. You understand now the scriptural statement that
mind and matter do not move from place to place. Ordinary people
is the same hand that moves, that has been before the bending, and
will be after the bending. They think the same hand moves inwards
outwards. To them it is ever-unchanging hand. It is because they
failed to see through the continuity of matter, the way matter
succession. It is because they lack in the knowledge to see
Impermanence is hidden by continuity, it is said. It is hidden
does not meditate on what arises and passes away. Says
"Because the rise and
fall are not
attended to, the characteristic of impermanence does not appear,
as it is hidden by continuity." --
Visuddhi-magga xxi, 781
Since the meditator is watching
rising, all things mental and material appear to him as separate,
pieces not as things whole and unbroken. From afar ants look like a
but nearer you see the ants one by one. The meditator sees
in broken pieces so continuity cannot hide the fact from him. The
characteristic of impermanence unfolds itself to him. He is no
"But when the rise and fall
and continuity is broken, the characteristic of impermanence
its true peculiar property." --
Visuddhi-magga xxi, 781
This is how you meditate
the knowledge of Contemplation on Impermanence. Mere reflection
meditation will not give rise to this knowledge. Once this
made become, those on suffering and not-self follow.
"To one, Meghiya, who has
impermanence the perception of not-self is established." --
Anguttara Nikaya iii, 169
How will you take what you very
to be capable of rising and passing away to be self, ego, a being?
cling to the self because they think they have been the same
whole life. Once it is clear to you from your own experience that
but made up of things that rise and pass away incessantly, you
cling as self. Some obstinate persons say that this sutta is meant
Meghiya alone. This is something that should not be said. We fear
will come up who will say what the Buddha said were meant for the
of his days, not for us who live today. But the statement is found
that sutta alone. In Sambodhi sutta the Buddha says:
"To one, monks, who has
impermanence the perception of not-self is established." --
Anguttara Nikaya iii, 165
And, if one realizes impermanence,
realizes suffering, too. The meditator who realizes how things are
and passing away, can see how the two events, rising and passing
have been oppressing him. The commentary to Sambodhi sutta says:
"When the characteristic of
is seen, the characteristic of not-self is seen, too, since when
the three characteristics is seen the other two are seen too."
So, it is very important to
one characteristic of impermanence.
In this connection let me tell you
from my own experience as a preacher. It is about a
my native village Hseipkhun in Shwebo district. He was none other
than a cousin of mine. He was one of the first three persons to
insight meditation in the village. The three of them agreed among
themselves to work for a week first. They worked very hard. They
brought to the hermitage cigars and betel quids to be taken one
But when they returned from the hermitage they took home all the
cigars and betel quids -- untouched.
So hard did they work that in
they attained the knowledge of rising and falling and were
experience tranquillity and see brilliance around. "Only at this
have we discovered the truth," they spoke with great joy. Because
were the first to take up meditation I thought of letting them go
their joys and just told them to go on noting. I did not tell them
note the joys. So, although they worked for four more days, they
get any higher.
After a few days'rest they came
another week of meditation. That cousin of mine then reached the
the knowledge of dissolution. Although he was noting rising,
sitting, he did not see the abdominal shape, and his
seemed to have disappeared, so he had to touch it with his hand to
it was still there, he told me. And, whenever he looked or saw,
seemed to be dissolving and breaking up. The ground he looked at
dissolving and so were the trees. It was all against what he had
things to be. He began to wonder.
He had never thought such
season-produced, gross material things like earth, trees, logs,
be incessantly breaking up. He had thought they perished only
aconsiderable length of time. They lasted for quite a long time,
thought. Now, as insight knowledge gained momentum with meditation
rising and passing away of phenomena appeared to him of their own
without his specially meditating on them. They were passing away,
up, there before him. It was all the reverse of his former
Perhaps his new vision was wrong. Perhaps his eye-sight was
So he asked me. And I told him.
passing away and breaking up he saw in everything were true. As
insight grew sharper and quicker, things appear rising and passing
you without your meditating on them. These are all true, I
him. Later on he again told me about his own findings as he
progressed in insight. Today he is no more. He has long been dead.
When insight knowledge has grown
sharp, it will prevail over wrong beliefs and thoughts. You see
their true light as impermanent, suffering, not-self. An
or reflection without meditation cannot give you real insight into
nature of things. Only insight meditation can do that.
Once you realize impermanence, you
they oppress you with their rising and passing away, how you can
pleasure from them, how they can never be a refuge, how they can
any moment, so how they are frightening, how they are sufferings,
"... ill (suffering) in the sense
You thought, "This body will not
soon. It will last for quite a long time." So you took it for a
refuge. But now as you meditate you find only incessant risings
passings-away. If no new ones rise up for the mental and material
that have passed away, one dies. And this can happen any moment.
To make a
self out of these mental and material things that can die any
to take refuge in it is as dreadful a thing as sheltering in an
And you find that nothing happens
desire. Things just follow their natural course. You thought you
if you wished to, sit if you wished to, rise, see, hear, do
you wished to. Now as you meditate you find that it is not so.
matter are found to be working in a pair. Only when there is
bend is there the form bending. Only when there is
stretch is there the form stretching. There is effect only when
cause. Only when there is something to see do you see. If there is
something to see, you can't help seeing it. You hear, when there
something to hear. You feel happy only when there is reason to be
You worry when there is cause to worry. If there is cause, there
You cannot help it. There is no
lives and does what it desires. There is no self, no ego, no I.
processes of arising and passing away.
To understand clearly is the most
important thing in insight meditation. Of course, you will come
joys, tranquillities, bright lights in the course of your
are not important things. What is important is to understand
suffering and not-self. These characteristics are made clear to
you as you
just keep on meditating as explained.
Peace at Last
You make things clear to you
believing what others tell you. If any of you beginners
had such self-made knowledge yet, know that you have not reached
stage. Work on. If others can, you can. It will not take very
knowledge comes to you as you are meditating. Only when you know
that all are impermanent, suffering and not-self will you not
sense objects, as permanent, happy, beautiful, good. Nor will you
them as self, soul, the I. All the graspings are done away with.
then? Well, all the defilements are calmed by Aryan Path and
"One who has no grasping
does not long
after things. One who does not long after things is calmed in
Majjhima Nikaya ii, 318
Whenever you meditate, you have no
obsession with the object noted. So, no grasping arises. There is
grasping to what you see, hear, smell, eat, touch or be aware of.
appear to rise each in its time and then pass away. They manifest
themselves as impermanent. There is nothing to cling to. They
with their rise and fall. They are all sufferings. There is
cling to as happy, good, or beautiful. They rise and fall as is
nature, so there is nothing to cling to as self, soul, or I, that
and lasts. All these are made very plain to you. At that the
done away with. Then you realize Nibbana through Ariyan Path.
We will explain this in the light
Dependent Origination and Aggregates.
"The stopping of grasping
is from the
stopping of craving; the stopping of becoming is from the stopping
grasping; the stopping of birth is from the stopping of becoming;
stopping of birth old age and dying, grief, suffering, sorrow,
and lamentation are stopped. Thus comes to be the stopping of this
mass of ill" -- Majjhima
337; Samyutta Nikaya ii, 1-3
One who meditates on the mental
material objects that appear at the six doors and knows their
nature of impermanence, suffering and not-self does not delight in
cling to them. As he does not grasp them, he makes no effort to
enjoy them. As he refuses to make an effort, there arises no karma
"becoming." As no karma arises, there is no new birth. When there
new birth, there is no occasion for old age, dying, grief, etc.
how one realizes momentary Nibbana through insight path whenever
meditates. We will explain the realization by Aryan Path later.
In Silavanta sutta earlier quoted,
venerable Sariputta explained how, if a monk of moral habit
the five grasping aggregates as impermanent, suffering, and
can become a Stream-winner; if a Stream-winner meditates, he can
Once-returner; if a Once-returner meditates, he can become a
Never-returner; if a Never-returner meditates, he can become an
Here, to realize the four Aryan fruitions of Stream-winning,
Once-returning, Never-returning, and Arahatship means to realize
through the four Aryan Paths.
To get to the Aryan Path one
insight path. And insight path begins with the analytical
mind and matter. Then one arrives at the knowledge by discerning
conditionality. Then, working on, one gains the knowledge of
investigation. Here one comes to enjoy reflecting on things,
them, and persons of considerable learning often spend a long time
so. If you do not want to reflect or investigate, you just keep on
meditating. Your awareness now becomes light and swift. You see
clearly how the things noted arise and pass away. You have come to
knowledge of rising and passing away.
At this stage noting tends to be
Illuminations, joys, tranquillities appear. Going through
unthought of before, one is thrilled with joy and happiness. At
initial stage of his work, the meditator has had to take great
to let the mind wander this way and that. But it has wandered and
of the time he has not been able to meditate. Nothing has seemed
right. Some have had to fight back very hard indeed. But with
in one's teachers, good intentions and determination, one has
these difficult stages. One has now come to the knowledge of
passing away. Everything is fine at this stage. Noting is easy and
effortless. It is good to note, and brilliant lights appear.
seizes him and causes a sort of goose-flesh in him. Both body and
at ease and he feels very comfortable. The objects to be noted
drop on one's mindfulness of their own accord. Mindfulness on its
seems to drop on the object of its own accord. Everything is there
noted. One never fails or forgets to note. On every noting the
is very clear. If you attend to something and reflect on it, it
be a plain and simple matter. If you take up impermanence,
not-self, about which you have heard before, they turn out to be
discernible things. So you feel like preaching. You think you
would make a
very good preacher. But if you have had no education, you will
make a poor
preacher. But you feel like preaching and you can even become
talkative. This is what is called "the ideal Nibbana" the
experience. It is not the real Nibbana of the Aryans. We may call
"It is the immortality of the
Training in meditation is like
mountain. You begin climbing from the base. Soon you get tired.
people who are coming down and they answer you with encouraging
"It's nearer now." Tired, you climb on and very soon come to a
place in the shade of a tree with a cool breeze blowing in. All
tiredness is gone. The beautiful scenery around fascinates you.
refreshed for a further climb.
The knowledge of the rising and
away is the resting place for you on your climb to higher insight
Those meditators who have not yet
this stage of knowledge may be losing hope. Days have passed and
of insight yet. They often get disheartened. Some leave the
centre with thoughts that meditation is nothing after all. They
discovered the "meditator's Nibbana." So we instructors have to
newcomers to the centre with the hope that they will attain to
knowledge at least. And we ask them to work to attain to it soon.
succeed as we advise. Then they needn't further encouragement.
now full of faith and determination to work on till the ultimate
This "meditator's Nibbana" is
of as amanusi rati -- non-human delight or superhuman
You derive all kinds of delights from various things -- from
wealth, family life. The "meditator's Nibbana" surpasses all these
delights. A meditator once told me that he had indulged in all
worldly pleasures. But none could match the pleasure he derived
meditation. He just could not express how delightful it was.
But is that all? No, you must work
go on with your noting. Then, as you progress, forms and features
longer manifest themselves and you find them always disappearing.
appears disappears the moment you notice it. You note seeing, it
disappears swiftly. You note hearing, it disappears. Bending,
again it disappears swiftly. Not only the object that comes up,
awareness of it too disappears with it in a pairwise sequence.
This is the knowledge of
Every time you note, they dissolve
swiftly. Having witnessed this for a long time, you become
them. It is the knowledge of the Fearful. Then you find fault with
things that keep passing away. It is the knowledge of tribulation.
you meditate on, you get wearied of them. It is the knowledge of
"So seeing all these
instructed disciple of the aryans disregards the material shapes,
disregards feeling." -- Majjhima
Nikaya i, 137; Samyutta Nikaya iii, 68
Your material body has been a
thing before. Sitting or rising, going or coming, bending or
speaking or working, everything has seemed very nice. You
thought this material body of yours to be a dependable and
thing. Now that you have meditated on it and seen that
dissolves, you no longer see your body as dependable. It is no
delightful. It is just a dull, tiresome business.
You have enjoyed both pleasurable
of the body and mental pleasure. You have thought, "I am
feel happy." Now these feelings are no longer pleasurable.
pass away as you notice them. You become wearied of them.
You have thought well of your
But now it too, passes away as you notice it. You feel disgusted
Volitional activities are
all your bodily, mental and vocal behaviours. To think, "I sit, I
go, I act," is to cling to volitional activities. You have thought
them, too. Now that you see them passing away, you feel
You have enjoyed thinking.
newcomers to the meditation centre are told that they must not
thinking about things, but must keep noting, they are not at all
Now you see how thoughts, ideas, come up and pass away, and you
of them, too. The same thing happens to your sense organs.
up at the six doors is now a thing to disgust, to be wearied of.
extreme disgust, some a considerable amount.
Then arise desires to be
them all. Once you are tired of them, of course you want to get
them. "They come and pass incessantly. They are no good. It were
they all ceased." This is the knowledge of desire for
Where "they all ceased" is Nibbana. To desire for deliverance from
to long for Nibbana. What must one do if he wants Nibbana? He
and goes on meditating. This is the knowledge of reflection.
special effort, the characteristics of impermanence, suffering and
not-self become all the more clearer to you. Especially clearer is
After reflection you come to the
of indifference to formations. Now the meditator is quite at ease.
much effort on his part the notings run smoothly and are very
sits down to meditate and makes the initial effort. Then
its course like a clock once wound up goes on ticking of its own
For an hour or so he makes no change in his posture and goes on
work without interruption. Before this knowledge there may have
disturbances. Your mind may be directed to a sound heard and thus
disturbed. Your thoughts may wander off and meditation is
Painful feelings like tiredness, hotness, aches, itches, coughs,
and disturb you. Then you have to start it all over again. But now
goes well. There are no more disturbances. Sounds you may hear but
ignore them and go on noting. Whatever comes up you note without
disturbed. There are no more wanderings of the mind. Pleasant
turn up but no delight or pleasure arises in you. You meet with
objects. Again you feel no displeasure or fear. Painful feelings
tiredness, hotness or aches rarely appear. If they do, they are
unbearable. Your noting gets the better of them. Itching pains and
disappear once you attain this knowledge. Some even get cured of
illnesses. Even if the illnesses are not completely cured, you get
relief while noting in earnest. So for an hour or so there will be
interruption to your notings. Some can go on meditating for two or
hours without interruption. And yet you feel no weariness in body.
Time passes unheeded. "It's not long yet," you think. On such a
summer day as this it would be very fine to have attained this
While other people are groaning under the intense heat the
who is working in earnest with this knowledge will not be aware of
heat at all. The whole day seems to have fled in no time. It is a
good insight knowledge indeed, yet there can be dangers like
worry ambition, or attachment. If these cannot be removed, no
will be made. Once they are removed, the aryan path knowledge is
Every time you note rising,
sitting, touching, seeing, hearing, bending, stretching,
and so on,
there is an effort being made. This is the right effort of the
Eightfold Path. Then there is your mindfulness. It is right
Then there is concentration which penetrates the object noted as
remains fixed on it. This is right concentration. The three are
Concentration Constituents of the Path. Then there is initial
which, together with concentration, ascends on the object noted.
It is the
application of the concomitants on the object. Its characteristic
"lifting" of the concomitants to the object
according to the Commentary. This is right thought. Then there is
realization that the object thus attended is movement,
seeing, cognition, impermanence and so on. This is right view.
thought and right view together form the Wisdom Constituent of the
The three Morality Constituents, right speech, right action and
livelihood, have been perfected before you take up insight
when you take the precepts. Besides, there can be no wrong speech,
wrong action, or no wrong livelihood in respect of the object
whenever you note, you perfect the Morality Constituents of the
The eight constituents of the
are there in every awareness. They constitute the insight path
up once clinging is done away with. You have to prepare this path
gradually until you reach the knowledge of indifference to
When this knowledge grows mature and strong, you arrive at Aryan
due course. It is like this:-- When the knowledge of indifference
formations has matured and grown stronger, your notings get
swifter. While thus noting and becoming aware swiftly, all of a
fall into the peace that is Nibbana. It is rather strange. You
prior knowledge of it. You cannot reflect on it on arrival,
after the arrival can you reflect. You reflect because you find
things. This is the knowledge of reflection. Then you know what
happened. This is how you realize Nibbana through the Aryan Path.
So, if you want to realize
is important is to work for freedom from clingings. With ordinary
clingings arise everywhere: in seeing, in hearing, in touching, in
aware. They cling to things as being permanent, as being happy,
soul, ego, persons. We must work for a complete freedom from these
clingings. To work is to meditate on whatever rises, whatever is
heard, touched, thought of. If you keep meditating thus, clingings
to be, the Aryan Path arises, leading to Nibbana. This is the
To Sum Up
How is insight developed?
-- Insight is developed by
on the five grasping aggregates.
* Why and when do we
meditate on the
-- We meditate on the
whenever they arise in order that we may not cling to them.
-- If we fail to meditate on mind and matter, clingings arise.
-- We cling to them as permanent, good, and as ego.
-- If we keep meditating on mind and matter, clingings cease
-- It is plainly seen that all are impermanent, suffering,
-- Once clingings cease, the Path arises, leading to Nibbana.
These then, are the elements of