Buddhist Meditations
Meditation – key to understanding the Dhamma
March 20, 2013
21/03/2013 22:05 (GMT+7)
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Buddhist Spectram
Dr Padmaka Silva

Earlier we discussed the facts stated in the Nibbida Sutta. There we mentioned that an individual wishing to achieve favorable results from practicing Dhamma and meditation should have confidence in the understanding of the Buddha. Also we spoke of the action that should be taken by us to achieve at least the minimum benefit or refuge from this Dhamma as individuals born in an age in which the wisdom of humans is deteriorating and born as ordinary individuals without a lot of wisdom.

What we mentioned was the availability of an easy access, an opportunity to pave a way to Nibbana by accepting the Dhamma facts directly preached by the Buddha. At some places the Buddha explained: “If one does this, these things will happen”. We come across places where Dhamma is explained directly in that manner.

As ordinary human beings, as individuals without much knowledge, we must decide about ourselves. If we select in that manner and think of practicing the Dhamma according to the facts explained directly, there is an opportunity to get a big refuge.

There is another Sutta called Asavakkhaya Sutta close to Nibbida Sutta. In that sermon, the Buddha explains, “Oh Bhikkhus. There are five activities which if practised, if practised extensively results in the annihilation of defilements”.

What are those five activities? These are the same as explained in the earlier Sutta. They are Asubha Sanna (perceiving the impurity of the body), Ahare Patikkula Sanna (perceiving the impurity of material food), Sabba Loke Anabhirata Sanna (not taking delight in worlds), Sabba Sankharesu Anicca Sanna (impermanence of all aggregates), of Marana Sati (to be mindful of death).

In the previous Sutta it was explained that if those five meditation activities were carried out dispassionateness invariably takes place. We are told that it will take place. We are told that it will take place definitely. When one becomes dispassionate with understanding the next thing that happens is the loss of desire. After that desire gets annihilated. Concurrently the mind becomes calmed down. With that calmed down mind it becomes possible to develop the special wisdom. One who achieves these special wisdoms can develop the complete understanding of the Noble Truths. Such a person realises the Nibbana.

In the Asavakkhaya Sutta it is explained that the individual who practises these five activities annihilates the Asavas (defilements rooted in us). You will see that if these Dhammas are accepted, if they are identified with a good understanding and confidence it will generate a sense of fearlessness.

Towards what will fearlessness be generated? A confidence in getting liberated from Sansara will get generated. Fear of Sansara will start getting reduced. One who becomes aware of a possibility of getting liberated from Sansara starts losing his fear of Sansara. That is what is called fearlessness. If one feels that there is no possibility of getting liberated from Sansara such a person has the fear for Sansara. It exists extensively. He has to live in that fear.

If an individual is certain that he has a chance of getting liberated from Sansara his fear of Sansara starts getting reduced. Then he becomes fearless. One who was afraid was in a hurry. He had no patience. Along with fearlessness he gets patience. Now the excitement has left him. When there is no excitedness there is patience.

What does he do now? He thinks of the ways to practise the Dhammas that have been explained. Then he practises them little by little. Does he sit for hours and practise saying “I will attain Samadhi (concentration) today”? No.

Why does one think of doing it in a hurry? Due to what does he think in that manner? By placing confidence in oneself. Based on overestimation of oneself one thinks “I will do this in a hurry”. One who has confidence in the Buddha and not in himself thinks “I must practise this slowly”. Why? He has fearlessness. Door is open for him. He sees the way. Does he get into a hurry? No. He practises little by little. If there is hurry in us we must find out what is lacking in us. We must understand what is in us if we practise little by little without getting into a hurry. Practicing little by little without getting into a hurry is not laziness or sloth. It comes under performance after planning. Performance in an orderly manner.

Who carries out meditation in an orderly manner? It is the person with patience. Who has patience? It is the person with fearlessness. Who is the person who arrives at fearlessness? One who becomes certain. How does one become a person who has got rid of doubt or uncertainty? By placing confidence in the understanding of the Buddha. Who is the person who believes in the understanding of the Buddha? One who accepts the preaching of the Buddha.

Now are you aware of the position? One who accepts the preaching of the Buddha becomes the one who has confidence in the understanding of the Buddha. One who has confidence in the understanding of the Buddha becomes one who has got rid of doubt. One who has got rid of doubt becomes one who becomes certain. One who has become certain becomes one who has got rid of fear. One who has got rid of fear becomes fearless. One who becomes fearless becomes one who lives with patience. Such a person thinks of acting in an orderly manner. He does not get into a hurry. He practises Dhamma and meditation activities carefully.

If we wish to get favorable results from meditation we should be willing to do it carefully. We mentioned earlier the nature that has to arise in the individual in order to perform that meditation in an orderly manner and carefully. From where should that individual start? He must accept the preaching of the Buddha. He must accept the Dhamma preached by the Buddha. Such a person will practise Dhamma and meditation carefully. He will be clever enough to practise Dhamma and meditation in an orderly manner.

Compiled with instructions from Ven Nawalapitiye Ariyawansa Thera.

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