(Mr. S. N. Goenka delivered tollowing public discourse at Hyderabad, India in1993)
Friends: we have assembled here again this evening on the bank of the Ganges of Dharma—pure Dharma, non-sectarian Dharma—to understand what pure Dharma is. Let us understand how to practice pure Dharma: how to live a life of pure Dharma, and how to get benefited by pure Dharma.
Dharma should be kept aloof from sectarian terminologies. Dharma should never be confused with Hindu-Dharma, Buddhist-Dharma, Jain-Dharma, Muslim-Dharma, Christian-Dharma, Sikh-Dharma, etc. Dharma is the universal law of nature. It is applicable to everyone, everywhere, at all times. It is the law of nature which will keep our minds free from impurities, free from negativities, free from any kind of defilement. Practicing Dharma makes the mind pure—full of love, full of compassion, full of sympathetic joy, full of equanimity. A pure mind will help you to live a good life, a healthy life, a wholesome life, which is good for you, and at the same time good for others. Such a Dharmic life can be lived by anyone.
One may keep calling oneself a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Sikh or a Parsi: it makes no difference. One may call oneself a Brahmin or a non-Brahmin: it makes no difference. One may call oneself a Punjabi or a Tamilian: it makes no difference. One may call oneself an Indian or a Pakistani: it makes no difference. A human being is a human being. If one understands the basic law of nature, and lives in accordance with the law of nature, without breaking this law of nature, one is bound to live a very peaceful life, harmonious life. Out of ignorance, if one breaks this law of nature, he or she is bound to become unhappy, bound to become miserable. One may call oneself by this name or that name; one may perform this rite or that ritual; one may believe in this particular philosophy or that particular philosophy: it makes no difference at all. The law is the law. Dharma is Dharma. Purity of mind is Dharma; defilement of the mind is adharma. One has to come out of adharma and live the life of Dharma.
The base of Dharma is morality, sīla. One should not perform any action, physical or vocal, which disturbs the peace and harmony of other beings. One should not perform any action, physical or vocal, which will hurt other beings, which will harm other beings. The base of Dharma is sīla, morality.
How can one practice morality? One must attain mastery over the mind. Our ancestors, the enlightened ones, gave us a very scientific technique for this. Dharma is a pure science of mind and matter, the interaction of mind and matter. Because of this interaction and because of our ignorance as to what is happening deep inside ourselves, we keep generating negativities. And we keep multiplying these negativities, which means that we keep multiplying our misery. We make ourselves unhappy and we make others unhappy.
One should understand this law of nature not merely at the intellectual level. We cannot understand the law of nature merely by listening to discourses, by listening to Dharma talks, by reading scriptures, by discussions, by intellectualization or by emotionalization. These may make us more and more confused. The only way to understand Dharma, to understand the law of nature, is to experience it. We should have direct experience of the truth, of the law of nature. We have to keep understanding the universal law with every step that we take on the path of Dharma.
Morality is the base of Dharma. At the apparent level, it appears that we are not harming other members of society when we live a moral life. So it seems that we are obliging other people, by allowing them to live a peaceful and happy life; by not harming them, by not hurting them. But at a deeper level—at the level of the law, the law of Dharma, the universal law of nature—we are actually obliging ourselves.
Those who walk on the path of Dharma should keep understanding that every time you break any sīla, any moral precept—any time you hurt or harm anybody at the physical or vocal level—you have started harming yourself. Actually, you harm yourself first and then you harm others, because you have to generate a tremendous amount of negativity in your mind—anger, hatred, ill will, animosity, passion, jealousy or ego, some impurity or the other—before you can perform a physical action or a vocal action which is harmful to others.
And as soon as we generate any negativity, any impurity, any defilement in the mind, nature starts punishing us. Nature does not discriminate. Nature—Dharma—is very impartial. Anybody who breaks the law is bound to be punished here and now, and anybody who lives a life of Dharma is bound to be rewarded here and now. This is the law, applicable to everyone. With this understanding, we realize that we must live a life of morality, which is good for ourselves and good for others also. Therefore we must control our minds. We must master our minds.
As we were discussing yesterday, we can train the mind to get concentrated with the help of many objects. But when we walk on the path of Dharma, scientific Dharma—where no blind faith is involved, where no imagination is involved, where no speculation is involved— we have to work with the truth, the truth as it is.
Therefore the object of concentration should be the truth as it is: the truth pertaining to oneself, the truth pertaining to your physical structure, which you keep calling "I, I, mine, mine." We have a tremendous amount of identification with this physical structure, and a tremendous amount of attachment towards this physical structure. Similarly with the truth pertaining to the mental structure, which we keep calling "I, I, mine, mine"—a tremendous amount of identification with this mental structure, and a tremendous amount of attachment towards this mental structure. One should understand what is this "I." What is this "mine"? What is this physical structure? What is this mental structure? And one should understand it at the experiential level.
The whole process of training the mind to get concentrated should simultaneously train the mind to become pure. Purification of the mind and mastery over the mind should develop side by side. Otherwise one learns only to concentrate the mind, with which one can get much power. Every concentrated mind is a very powerful mind, and it can be misused. If the base is impure, and the mind is concentrated, it is a dangerous mind. Unwholesome actions can be performed with a concentrated mind. You must have seen a crane, standing at the bank of a pond, on one leg, fully concentrated. Concentrated on what?—on looking for a fish to devour. Or a cat at a mouse hole is concentrated on waiting for a mouse to come out, so it can devour it. To be successful, your mind has to be concentrated with every action that you perform. Even one who is a pickpocket has to keep his mind concentrated to pick pockets. These are all concentrations. Someone with a double barrelled-gun is fully concentrated on the prey, ready to shoot and kill it.
These kinds of concentration are not Dharma. When the base is craving or hatred, this is not right concentration, not Dharmic concentration. The base must be free from craving, free from aversion, and always based on the truth. There should be no imagination, no speculation, no auto-suggestions, no outer suggestions, but the truth as it is.
To realize the truth, India’s enlightened people of the past gave us this technique. You sit down, close your eyes, close your mouth, and do nothing at the physical or vocal level. The whole process is a process of truth-realization, a process of self-realization, the truth pertaining to yourself at the experiential level—not what the books say, not what the scriptures say, not what your guru says, not what your tradition says, not what your belief says; but the truth that you experience from moment to moment. The truth pertaining to yourself.
What is happening at this moment? There is no physical action going on, no vocal action going on. You are just observing, observing what is happening within the framework of your body. The first thing you will observe is the flow of respiration. There is a constant flow of respiration. The breath coming in and the breath going out, the breath coming in and the breath going out: you start with that. The breath is real; there is no imagination involved. The breath pertains to your own self, the reality pertaining to yourself. This reality is very gross, but it doesn’t matter—truth is truth.
You have started with the truth. If you are on the Path, you will notice that every step you take will be a step on the path of truth, truth, truth. You will start with the gross truth, and you will move towards subtler, subtler, subtler truth. You will reach the subtlest truth pertaining to your physical structure, the subtlest truth pertaining to your mental structure. A time will come when it will become very easy for you to transcend the entire field of mind and matter and experience something which is indescribable, which is eternal, which does not arise, which does not pass away. It is there all the time.
This has to be experienced, and for that you have to experience the entire field of mind and matter, the field which keeps arising, passing, arising, passing. A constant process of change is taking place. This is not just to be believed; it has to be experienced. And for that experience, you start with your respiration—the breath coming in, the breath going out; natural breath, normal breath, as it comes in naturally, as it goes out naturally.
Do not use any verbalization. From my own experience, and from the experience of so many others, I know that if you start using a word along with the awareness of respiration, your mind will get concentrated very easily, very quickly, without any disturbance. In that practice, you keep repeating any word, any name, any mantra, in which you have faith, and at the same time you observe your respiration. But in this technique of truth-realization, you are not allowed to use any word, because concentration is not the aim. Concentration with purity is the aim. If mere concentration were the aim, then all these verbalizations, visualizations, imaginations, speculations and philosophizations would be helpful. You could have used them. But because this is the analytical study of your own self, the scientific study of the mind and matter within yourself, don’t use any imagination, verbalization or visualization. Just be with the truth as it is.
And don’t use a breathing exercise. Don’t control the breath, as is done in prāṇāyāma. Don’t control the breath. Just be aware of the breath as it comes in naturally, as it goes out naturally. If it is deep, it is deep. You are just aware that it is deep. If it is shallow, it is shallow. You are just aware that it is shallow. If it is passing through the left nostril, you are just aware that it is passing through the left nostril. If it is passing through the right nostril, you are just aware that it is passing through the right nostril. If it is passing through both nostrils, you are just aware that it is passing through both nostrils. Don’t try to change the natural flow of respiration. Just observe. Mere observation, bare observation, silent observation.
In the ancient Indian language this was called taṭastha, which means somebody sitting at the bank of a river. The river is flowing. One who is sitting at the bank of a river has nothing to do with the flow of the river. It is just there, the natural flow of the river. This person sitting at the bank of the river is just observing, observing the natural flow. It may be fast, it may be slow. The water might be very transparent, or it might be muddy. Whatever it is, he doesn’t try to change it; he doesn’t make any effort.
It is an effortless observation of the truth as it is, from moment to moment, from moment to moment. This is what one has to do: observe the breath as it is. As it is, not as you would like it to be, but as it is; as it is. It is a very easy exercise. You don’t have to do anything. Nature is playing its own role. The breath is just coming in naturally and going out naturally. You are just sitting at the bank of the river and observing the flow of respiration, coming in, going out, coming in, going out. What is difficult about this? It is very easy.
But if you decide to come to a ten-day course and start working with the breath, you will find it so difficult, so difficult. It is quite easy to understand: "Well, I just have to observe the breath, natural breath." But when you start observing it, you won’t observe even a couple of breaths before the mind wanders away. Suddenly you realize: "What happened? I was here to observe my breath." And again you bring your attention back to the breath. Again you observe just one or two breaths, and again the mind has gone somewhere else. You feel very irritated: "What’s wrong with me? What sort of mind do I have? It cannot even do this easy job of observing the breath!" You get annoyed with yourself.
Then your guide at the Vipassana centre will say: "Don’t get annoyed. Don’t generate anger. Whether you generate anger towards somebody else, or you generate anger towards yourself, it makes no difference. Just accept the reality that the mind has wandered away." You are observing the breath and your mind has wandered away. You realize: "Look, the mind has wandered away." Smilingly accept the reality. This is the reality of this moment: the mind has wandered away. All right, the breath is still there, and you start again. You start again, and again the mind wanders away. Again you realize: "Oh look, it has wandered away." Again come back to the breath. Like this, you have to work—very patiently, very patiently. It takes a day or two, then your mind starts calming down.
You were asked to observe your breath. Observing the breath, observing the breath, you have started observing your mind also: "See, this mind keeps wandering away, it keeps wandering away." You have started making an analytical study of your own mind and the truth as it is, in a very scientific way. Where has the mind wandered? To which subject has it wandered? Again it has wandered. Where? To which subject? You can’t keep a diary or make notes of where it wandered, to which subject it wandered. It wandered.
But you will notice that there are only two fields where the mind keeps wandering. Either it wanders in a memory of the past, this memory or that memory, and it keeps rolling in that: "This happened," or "That happened." Or it will jump to the future—"Oh, I want this to happen in the future," or "I don’t want this to happen in the future"—and it keeps rolling in the future.
As a research scholar, you will start understanding the nature of your mind. It is a slave of its own habit pattern, constantly rolling in either the past or in the future, either the past or the future. It does not want to live in the present. And you have to live in the present; you can’t live in the past. The past is gone, gone forever. All the money in the world will not buy back the moment that is gone; this is impossible. You can’t relive the past; it is gone forever. You can’t live in the future, unless the future becomes the present. You have to live in the present, and the behaviour pattern of the mind is that it does not want to live in the present. This is one reason why it remains agitated.
You start understanding one reason why the mind remains agitated: it does not know the art of living. With this technique of observing respiration, observing respiration, you are training your mind in the art of living, to learn how to live in the present moment. The reality of the present moment is that the breath is coming in, or the breath is going out. Be with that, as it is: live in the present. Again the mind runs away because of its old habit pattern, and again you bring it back to the present moment. You are understanding the behaviour of your mind to some extent; a beginning has been made.
Another reality that you will observe: on the second or third day, it will become clear that whether the mind wanders in the past, or it wanders in the future, there are only two types of thoughts that keep coming. They are either pleasant or unpleasant. A memory of the past may be pleasant or unpleasant. A thought of the future may be pleasant or unpleasant. You observe, "Look, a pleasant thought has arisen."
Whether it is a thought of the past or a thought of the future, you will notice that one part of the mind starts rolling in this pleasant thought, and another part of the mind starts reacting to it: "Ah, wonderful. This happened in the past, and it was so good. It was wonderful, I liked it." Or: "I want this to happen because I like it, it is wonderful." There is a reaction of liking which very soon turns into craving, which very soon turns into clinging. Craving, clinging, craving, clinging.
An unpleasant thought comes—of the past or of the future—and you will notice that one part of the mind rolls in this unpleasant thought, and the other part of the mind reacts to it: "Unpleasant, no good. I don’t like it, I don’t like it." Aversion, hatred, aversion, hatred. Then it becomes clear that your mind is not silent for a moment: every moment there is some thought or the other, which is either pleasant or unpleasant. Whenever there is a pleasant thought, you react with craving, craving, craving. And whenever there is an unpleasant thought you react with aversion, aversion, aversion. Rāga, dveśha, rāga, dveśha. The mind is constantly rolling in rāga or in dveśha, in rāga or in dveśha.
Whenever you generate rāga, craving, you lose the balance of your mind. Whenever you generate dveśha, aversion, you lose the balance of your mind, you are no longer equanimous. There is no equilibrium of the mind, there is no equipoise of the mind. When you become unbalanced, you become agitated and you become miserable. So the cause of misery becomes clearer and clearer. The root of all the defilements is rāga and dveśha. And whenever you generate any defilement in the mind, every moment it is with rāga or dveśha, rāga ordveśha.
This is not a philosophical thought, a philosophical game, a devotional game or an emotional game; it is very scientific, very rational. You are researching how the mind works, and you are experiencing the truth about your mind. You are rolling in rāga, rolling in dveśha and becoming miserable. Then you bring your attention back to the awareness of respiration. At that moment, when the mind is with the awareness of respiration, there is no craving. You are with the present moment. You don’t start craving for the breath:"I want more breath, I want more breath." The breath is there, so there is no use craving for it. When the breath is coming in, you don’t have aversion towards the breath: "Go away, I don’t like this breath." There is neither craving nor aversion, there is no rāga, there is no dveśha.
As you keep working for the whole day, you will start to experience very tiny moments when your mind is really with the breath—no craving, no aversion. You are training your mind not merely to be concentrated, but also to be free from craving, free from aversion, free from impurities. This is the proper, scientific way of developing mastery over the mind. And anybody can do it, because one is working with truth. This is not a belief. The breath is there, and the breath is not Hindu, Muslim or Christian breath, Brahmin or non-Brahmin breath, Indian or American breath. The breath is the breath—natural breath, a natural phenomenon: the breath coming in and the breath going out. And the mind that is observing it is not a Hindu mind, a Muslim mind, or a Christian mind. This is how everybody’s mind is working, and you are examining your own mind, how it is working.
The whole process is so scientific, so result-oriented. You get results here and now. You understand your problem, and you start coming out of your problem in a very scientific way, a very rational way. No blind faith is involved, no gurudom is involved, no exploitation is involved, no dogmatism is involved. This is the truth. This is the science of mind and matter. Great scientists of India discovered the science of mind and matter, the interaction of mind and matter.
By observing the breath, observing the breath, you will very soon reach the stage where you understand how mind and matter are interrelated. At the apparent level, the respiration appears to be merely a physical exercise, a physical activity. The breath comes in and goes out, comes in and goes out because the lungs are pumping. So does it pertain only to your physical structure? This idea is totally wrong.
When you observe it objectively, in a scientific way, it becomes so clear that your breath is also strongly related to your mind, and also very strongly related to the mental impurities. As you are observing your breath, observing your breath, some thought of the past comes and you start reacting with anger. As soon as you generate anger, you will notice that the breath has lost its normality. It is no longer normal; it becomes slightly fast, slightly hard. And once that impurity has gone away, again it becomes normal. So the breath is strongly related to your mind and strongly related to your body.
You are here to understand the nature of mind and matter, the interaction of mind and matter—the currents, crosscurrents, undercurrents that are going on within the framework of this body. You are going to examine that. That is why you have chosen the breath. And pure breath, natural breath, without any verbalization, without any visualization, without any imagination, without any kind of philosophical belief. It has nothing to do with all those. Observe the breath as breath, and this will take you further towards subtler truths.
The saints of India understood how to make a true analytical study of the truth. That is why Guru Nānak said:
“Ādī saca, jugādī saca, hai bhī saca, Nānaka hosi bhi saca.”
-Start with the truth, and when every step is with the truth, you will reach the ultimate truth.
If you start with imagination, you may get involved with a bigger imagination, under the delusion that you have experienced the truth. But you are far away from the truth. Be with the truth, however gross it may be, and you will notice that you are moving further towards the truth— subtler truth, subtler truth, subtler truth.
At this stage, a warning: having listened to this discourse, please do not start trying it on your own. It is a very delicate job—very simple, and yet very delicate. You are making a surgical operation of your own mind, moving from the surface level to the deeper, deeper, deepest level of the mind. When you make a surgical operation of the mind, deep-rooted complexes might come to the surface, and you should know how to face them. Therefore, the first time that you learn this technique, you should learn it with somebody who is experienced. Spend ten days with an experienced teacher. But after you have learned the technique in ten days, you are your own master. You have to work on it, and it is a long path. You have to walk on the Path. Nobody else will carry you on his shoulders and bring you to the final goal. You have to walk. You have to work out your own salvation. But to learn the technique, initially you must work with somebody who has experience on the Path, who has walked on the Path.
So—observing the breath, observing the breath, keeping your attention at the entrance of the nostrils, and in that area, observing the breath coming in, going out, coming in, going out—by the time you reach the third or fourth day, something will start happening there. Actually something is happening all the time, some biochemical or electromagnetic reaction is taking place on every little particle of the body, at every moment. Wherever there is life, there is a biochemical reaction, an electromagnetic reaction. But one does not know this because the mind is so gross that one cannot feel what is happening.
After practicing for two or three days, one reaches the stage where one starts experiencing some sensation or the other—ordinary, physical sensations. Maybe heat, maybe perspiration, maybe throbbing, pulsing, vibrating, tingling, heaviness, numbness—something or the other is happening in that small area. Again, your guide will say, "Just observe; do nothing. Just observe. Don’t react. Just observe—taṭastha. Observe objectively."
Nature—the truth—has started revealing itself at a subtler level. Neither like nor dislike it; just observe. And observing its nature, you will notice that it arises, and sooner or later passes away. Then something else arises, and sooner or later it passes away. It is a changing phenomenon. It keeps arising, passing away, arising, passing away. On the third or fourth or fifth day, you will reach the stage where you will feel the entire physical structure, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, full of sensations. And in a few days’ time—in some cases on the seventh or eighth or ninth day, in some cases not on the first course but on the second or third course—the entire solidity of the body gets dissolved. There is no imagination involved; this is the truth.
The great scientists of India, who were the enlightened people of our country, made an analytical study of the entire structure of mind and matter. They discovered that the body, although it appears to be very solid, is actually nothing but tiny particles, atoms. In the Indian language of twenty-five centuries ago, these tiny particles were called kalāpas. A kalāpa is the tiniest unit of the material world. The entire physical structure is nothing but a mass of tiny kalāpas, and they are arising, passing, arising, passing; constantly arising, passing, arising, passing. The enlightened people experienced this.
A modern scientist also says the same thing: "The entire material world is nothing but vibrations, vibrations, wavelets, wavelets. There is no solidity in the material world." He says this because he has used his apparatus, his instruments and his intellect. But the scientists of our country understood by experience. And when they understood the truth by experience, this gave wonderful results: they became enlightened. They came out of all their miseries because they came out of all their defilements. You will understand this also as you progress further on the Path.
As you observe the realities from the gross to the subtler, subtler, subtlest level, layer upon layer of impurities will get peeled off, will get eradicted. As you reach a subtler level, you become purer. When you reach a still subtler level, you will become purer and purer. The subtlest reality of mind and matter will take you to the stage where the mind becomes totally pure. Only then can you transcend the field of mind and matter and experience something which is eternal: the truth. You can give it any name—you may call it liberation, or enlightenment, ornirvāṇa. These names have no meaning; you have to experience the truth yourself. And this experience of the truth is possible only when the mind becomes ultra-pure.
To make the mind ultra-pure, you have to practice this exercise of observing the truth, from the gross to the subtle, from the gross to the subtle. A stage comes when you experience the entire physical structure as nothing but a mass of vibrations. Then the reality experienced by the Buddhas, the enlightened ones, becomes very clear to you. They announced:
Sabbo pajjalito loko,Sabbo loko pakampito, pakampito.
-The entire universe is nothing but vibration, vibration, vibration: combustion and vibration, combusion and vibration. And you yourself realize this: "Yes, it is nothing but pakampito, pakampito: vibration. Combustion and vibration. Combustion and vibration. "
The entire universe is experienced within the framework of the body. The universe is the universe for you only when it comes into contact with your sense doors. The world of sound is the world of sound for you only when it comes to your ear sense door. For somebody who is deaf, deaf from birth, there is no world of sound. For somebody who is blind, blind from birth, there is no world of shape or colour or light. So the universe comes into contact with these five sense doors—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body skin. Through these five sense doors, you understand that "This is the world" and "This is the universe." And when there is no contact with any of these five, because of your past experience, there is contact with the sense door of the mind. This is the sixth sense door.
A stage comes when you experience the entire physical and mental structure as vibration, vibration, vibration. If a sound has come into contact with your ear, you will notice that the sound also is vibration, vibration. The ear sense door is vibration, vibration. The sound is vibration, vibration, and as soon as it has come into contact, a new vibration has started, a new vibration throughout the body, not merely at the sense door. It is similar to when a gong is struck, and the entire gong starts vibrating. A sound has come into contact with the ear sense door, a vision has come into contact with the eye sense door, a smell has come into contact with the nose sense door, a taste has come into contact with the tongue sense door, something tangible has come into contact with the body sense door, or a thought has come into contact with the mind sense door—then there is vibration, vibration. Neutral vibration.
If you are a good Vipassana meditator, if you are a good research scholar, you will notice that as soon as a sound has come into contact with the ear, a vibration has started. Immediately a part of the mind will cognize: "Look, something has happened at the ear sense door." Or: "Something has happened at the eye sense door," or nose sense door, etc. The job of this part of the mind is to cognize that something has happened.
Immediately another part of the mind will raise its head, and ask, "What has happened? What has happened at the ear sense door? A sound has come. What sound? Oh, these are words. What kind of words? Words of praise, or words of abuse." This is the job of the second part of the mind: to recognize what has come into contact with the sense door—and not only to recognize, but also to evaluate it. "Words of abuse—very bad! Words of praise—wonderful!" This part of the mind recognizes and gives an evaluation.
And as soon as an evaluation is given, you will notice that the neutral vibration which started throughout the body starts changing. If the evaluation was given that the words are words of praise ("Ah, wonderful!"), you will notice that the vibrations throughout the body have become very pleasant. If the evaluation was given that these words are words of abuse ("Very bad"), you will notice that the vibrations are very unpleasant. Very unpleasant. The third part of the mind has started feeling the vibrations, pleasant or unpleasant.
Immediately the fourth part of the mind will raise its head, and say: "Pleasant vibrations. Ah, wonderful! I want more! This is praise. I want more, I want more!" At the apparent level it appears that what you like is the praise, but actually what you are liking is the pleasant sensations. Or it appears that you are hating the abuse: "I don’t like this abuse!" Actually you are hating the vibrations, the unpleasant vibrations within you. The fourth part of the mind is the part which reacts.
It becomes so clear that it is all mind and matter: how matter is influencing the mind, and how the mind is influencing matter. How matter originates because of the mind. How the mind originates because of matter. How matter changes into mind. How mind changes into matter. The entire phenomenon becomes so clear, so clear. This is what the scientists, the great saints of India discovered. But we got involved with these organized religions, these philosophies, beliefs, dogmas, cults, rites and rituals, and forgot the real Dharma.
I was born and brought up in a very staunch Hindu family, and it is good that I was born there. I used to recite Gītā like most of you are probably reciting. For me it was just recitation, mere recitation without understanding what I was reciting. The meaning, the real meaning was totally lost. Without understanding it, we used to recite a verse of the Bhagavad Gītā in Sanskrit, which describes Vipassana:
Utkrāmantam sthitam vā pi bhuñjānam vā guṇānvitam, Vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti paśyanti jñānacakśuśa.
-This describes utkrāmantam—the part of the mind that perceives that something or the other has happened at some sense door:utkrāmantam. Sthitam: the second part tries to recognize what has happened—sthitam. Then with this recognition, a sensation starts, pleasant or unpleasant. And bhuñjānam, bhuñjānam—one starts tasting it; liking it or disliking it. And guṇānvitam, guṇānvitam—it multiplies. This is how one starts creating more and more bondage, more and more bondage. Vimūḍhā nānupaśyanti, paśyanti jñānacakśuśa: one cannot practice Vipassana unless one gets the eyes of wisdom. And the eyes of wisdom will come when you practice the truth.
If you give a veneer, a colour, of some kind of belief, dogma or imagination while you are practicing concentration of the mind, then you can’t understand what is really happening. Just be with the truth—the truth of mind and matter and how they are interacting—and everything will become clearer and clearer.
At a higher stage, a time comes when it becomes very clear to a Vipassana meditator why one becomes miserable, and how this misery multiplies. For example, someone has abused me, and I have generated anger. If I am a good Vipassana meditator, as soon as I have generated anger, I will notice that a biochemical flow starts in the body. This biochemical flow was called āśrava in the ancient Indian language. Because this biochemical flow is the result of anger, it is very unpleasant. Then, because this flow is very unpleasant, I get very unpleasant sensations. And when I get very unpleasant sensations, I again react with anger. And when I react with anger, again a very unpleasant flow starts. This very unpleasant flow happens, and again I react with anger. A vicious circle has started. For hours on end, I keep rolling in anger. At the apparent level, it appears that I am generating anger because someone has abused me. But this is just the apparent truth. The actual truth is that a biochemical reaction has started within myself, and I am reacting to that biochemical flow.
The enlightened people of our country discovered the way to come out of this vicious circle. How can we come out of it? Just observe the biochemical reaction that has started. Observe the particular sensation that has started. Whenever we generate anger, passion, fear—any impurity—a biochemical reaction pertaining to that particular impurity will start in the body. And when we observe it, observe it without reacting to it, we don’t multiply the reaction. As the process of multiplication stops, the reaction slowly gets eradicated, and we start coming out of it. We have not suppressed it, we have not diverted the mind to something else: we are facing the truth as it is and coming out of it, coming out of reaction.
It is so scientific, so rational, so result-oriented. It has nothing to do with Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam or Christianity. It is the law, the law of nature. No conversion is involved. One should understand this. There is a very wrong impression that by practicing Vipassana, one will become a Buddhist, or a Jain, or something else. Vipassana has nothing to do with that.
A few centuries ago, someone by the name of Galileo discovered that the flat looking-earth is not flat: it is round, and it rotates on its own axis. Some believed this, some didn’t believe it. Gradually everybody started believing it. When you start believing this truth, you don’t convert yourself to any religion. You don’t become Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jew or Buddhist.
Some time ago somebody by the name of Newton discovered that there is a law of gravity. People gradually accepted it, but they didn’t become converted from one religion to another religion. Similarly, scientists, the enlightened people of India, found out how this mind and matter works: how we react; how, because of our ignorance we keep multiplying our misery by multiplying our impurity, and how we can come out of it. If we accept this, and work on it, we can come out of it.
Of course, conversion is involved, but the conversion is from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation, from ignorance to enlightenment, not from one organized religion to another organized religion. Vipassana is a wonderful technique of our country. We should be proud of it.
It is very unfortunate that we lost this technique for two thousand years. It is very fortunate that a neighbouring country maintained it in its pristine purity, from Teacher to pupil, from Teacher to pupil, from generation to generation. Although only very few people maintained it, they did maintain it. That is why we are getting it back now. Make use of this wonderful heritage of India, the wonderful discovery of our country. Make use of it—in your own interest, and in the interest of so many others.
May these three days of Dharma talks not become just another subject of intellectual entertainment. You can go to different places to listen to discourses, to entertain your mind and to entertain your intellect. Don’t make these Dharma talks an intellectual entertainment. Give this technique a trial. Work on it. Experience it. Spare ten days of your life to learn this science of India and see what is happening within yourself. See how the mind and matter react and how they keep influencing each other. See how misery arises, how it multiplies, and how it can be totally eradicated. Make use of it for your own good, for your own benefit, for your own liberation.
May all of you find time to give a trial to this wonderful technique and come out of your misery. May all of you enjoy real peace, real harmony, real happiness; real happiness, real happiness.