Vol. 18, No. 12: 12 December 2008
Words of Dhamma
Paradukkhūpadhānena,attano sukhamicchati;verasaṃsaggasaṃsaṭṭho,verā so na parimuccati.
One who inflicts pain on others,in pursuit of one’s own happiness;being entangled by the bonds of hatred,
is never delivered from hatred.
Experiential Wisdom—Paññā, By S. N. Goenka
What is paññā? Paññā is direct knowledge. It is the excellent knowledge that leads us to liberation. Paññā is not the knowledge gained merely by reading books or by listening to discourses. It is actual knowledge that is gained through our own experience. By constantly practising it, many unknown truths start manifesting themselves.
One truth which manifests itself is that the roots of all those saṅkhāras that lead to the lower worlds lie dormant in the deep unconscious mind. This becomes clear to a person sooner or later, depending on his stock of past pāramis. These harmful saṅkhāras that lead one to states of misery lie dormant and flow along with the life-stream. Therefore, they are called dormant defilements (anusaya kilesa).
Even if one eradicates these unwholesome saṅkhāras at the surface of the mind by means of any meditation technique, yet one does not attain total liberation from the lower worlds.
However, when a meditator maintains the practice of objective awareness towards all bodily sensations, he develops a progressively stronger ability to be free from craving because by means of wisdom, he experiences the truth that every sensation is impermanent and constantly changing. He does not generate craving or aversion towards these sensations. Thus, his awareness and equanimity become stronger and stronger.
Then the deep-rooted dormant saṅkhāras at the depth of the unconscious mind start coming up on the surface one after another, and when the meditator remains equanimous towards them, they start getting uprooted and eradicated and start decreasing. Thus, the meditator starts getting liberated from the lower worlds.
When all the dormant defilements (leading to the lower realms) have come to the surface and have been eradicated, one attains full liberation from the lower worlds.
Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, tesaṃ vūpasamo sukho.
When saṅkhāras arise and get eradicated, one experiences the happiness of their cessation.
By practising Vipassana a meditator gains complete liberation from the saṅkhāras of the lower worlds. As one continues to observe these impermanent sensations, one experiences for the first time, the state of nibbāna, which is constant, eternal, stable and beyond the field of arising and passing away. This is the first stage of total liberation from the cycle of becoming. This is known as the stage of stream-entry (sotāpatti). Such a meditator has entered the stream of total liberation from the cycle of becoming. Now nobody can stop him from becoming fully liberated. He will be reborn in the higher worlds for seven lives at the most and will eradicate his entire stock of rebirth-producing saṅkhāras.
Visaṅkhāragataṃ cittaṃ taṇhānaṃ khayamajjhagā.
The mind becomes free of all saṅkhāras and is totally purified.
When taṇhā is eradicated, he does not generate new saṅkhāras. He attains the stage where:
Khīṇaṃ purāṇaṃ navaṃ natthi sambhavaṃ.
All old saṅkhāras have been eradicated; new saṅkhāras cannot be generated. Such a person is known as an arahat; one who is totally liberated from rebirth.
He declares the following truth:
This is my last birth.
Now there shall be no more rebirth.
(Dīghanikāyo 1.31, Bodhisattadhammatā)
Thus, he becomes totally liberated from birth and death in the cycle of becoming.
A meditator must strive diligently in order to attain all these stages.
Liberation cannot be bestowed by any god, goddess, brahmā or God Almighty. A true spiritual teacher will only say:
I am a path-giver, not a giver of liberation.
As the Buddha said –
Tumhehi kiccaṃ ātappaṃ, akkhātāro tathāgatā.
You have to strive for your liberation;
the Buddhas only show the path.
One who walks on this path cannot fall into the clutches of any guru out of blind faith. He understands:
Attā hi attano nātho—
one is one’s own master.
attā hi attano gati—
one makes one’s own destiny.
As he continues to practise Vipassana, certain truths about oneself become clear to a serious meditator.
First, it now becomes clear to him that, though he formerly believed that he was attached to intoxicants, gambling or sexual misconduct, the truth is that the attachment is not to them but to the sensations that they produce. Now, by this meditation, he objectively observes the arisen sensations associated with these addictions and gets rid of them. Thus he is free from generating such defiled saṅkhāras again.
Another truth also becomes very clear
—Pubbe hanati attānaṃ, pacchā hanati so pare.
(Theragāthāpāḷi 139, Vasabhattheragāthā)
A serious meditator, whether a prisoner or not, observes that whenever he generates a thought of revenge in his mind, his body immediately starts burning. His heartbeat increases and he becomes tense and miserable. He begins to clearly understand that, before he can destroy the peace and harmony of another person, he destroys his own peace and harmony and makes himself miserable.
When a meditator experiences these truths, his nature starts to change. In place of hatred and ill-will, he generates love and goodwill. His mind is suffused with loving kindness and compassion. His life is filled with peace and happiness. His life becomes fruitful.
Such is the technique of Vipassana, which is based on experiential truth and is beneficial in every way.
This is the invaluable legacy which Buddha gave to the suffering world.
Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ—May all beings be happy.
Vipassana introduction: www.dhamma.org
Course schedules of Vipassana centres worldwide, application form for ten-day courses, etc.
Dhamma Giri: www.vri.dhamma.org
Indian Vipassana centres and schedule of courses, VRI Newsletters, research papers, publications, etc.
Pali Tipiṭaka Website: www.tipitaka.org
The Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka with commentaries, subcommentaries and related Pali texts in Roman, Devanagari, Cyrillic, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Myanmar, and Sinhala scripts. Bengali and Telugu scripts have also been added recently. More scripts will be added in future.
Prison Courses Website: www.prison.dhamma.org
Information about Vipassana courses in prisons.
Global Vipassana Pagoda Website: www.globalpagoda.org
Updated information about Global Vipassana Pagoda.
Goenkaji’s Discourses on Television
Aastha: Daily, 9:40 to 10 am
Hungama: and Bindass: Daily, 4.30 to 6.00 am
Zee: Urja, Daily, 4:30 am
USA: Aastha TV at 6 pm EST (Monday to Friday) on WORLDDIRECT platform of DIRECTV on channel no. 2005. (Please confirm exact timings.)
Mr. Richard Harding, Assistant Teacher of Vipassana from UK, passed away peacefully on 27 November 2008 in Dorset, England. His wife, Mrs. Deborah Harding, is also an assistant teacher.
May he be happy, peaceful and liberated.
Pilgrimage to the Buddha Sacred Sites
IRCTC, the tourism arm of Indian Railways, last year, started running a fully airconditioned special train named the Mahaparinirvana Express, touring the Buddha Sacred Sites – Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Exhaustive details can be viewed on www.railtourismindia.com.
This is an excellent opportunity for a Vipassana meditator to do the pilgrimage in a comfortable manner without the bother and hassle of orgainising multiple ticketing, local transport at different destinations and hotel stays.
Global Vipassana Foundation(GVF) has negotiated a special discount of 21% with IRCTC for the benefit of Vipassana meditators, and IRCTC & GVF has additionally agreed to structure in two slots of group meditation for the Vipassana meditators, subject to the number of such meditators being not less than 10 on a given train. The first, under the Bodhi tree in the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya and the second, at Kushinagar. The group sittings will be scheduled for after the close of visiting hours to the temple so as to provide a quiet environment for group meditation. This would be subject to no other engagement happening on the particular day in the temple premises.
The circuit of the Mahaparinirvana Express starts and ends at Delhi. The forthcoming schedule and tariff appear below:
Start and end at Delhi
|1st & 18th
|8th & 25th
|1st, 15th & 29th
|8th, 22nd & 6thDec
|13th & 27th
|20th & 3rd Jan
|10th & 24th
|17th & 31st
|7th & 21st
|14th & 28th
|7th & 21st
|14th & 28th
Full Tour of 8 days / Full Fare (infants free, children 5-12 yrs 50%)
||Rack Rate||21% Discounted Rate (rounded)|
Meditators needing more information are encouraged to visit www.railtourismindia.com and/or contact Arun Srivastava - Tel: (91) 99714-96669, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For registration contact Manish Shinde - Tel: (91) 93235-26462, Email: email@example.com
Basic Pali-English Course at VRI
Vipassana Research Institute will be conducting an eight-month basic Pali-English residential course from March 2009 to 31 October 2009.
Vipassana meditators who have completed five ten-day courses and one Satipatthana course, are observing five precepts and maintaining two hours of daily practice for the last two years and are fully committed to this tradition are eligible for admission. Local area Teacher's recommendation is essential for admission to the course.
Advanced Pali-English Course at VRI
Advanced Pali-English residential course will be conducted from March 2009 to 31 October 2009. Eligibility criteria are the same as in the Basic Pali course plus completion of the Basic course or equivalent. Area teacher's recommendation is essential.
Last date for application is 31 January 2009. Application forms are available at VRI, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri 422 403. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations through Core Banking and SWIFT Transfer
Donations to Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust (VIA, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri) and VRI can now be remitted from anywhere in India through any branch of the State Bank of India (SBI) under core banking system.
Account Nos of State Bank of India, Igatpuri branch:
1 Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust: 11542160342
2 VRI: 11542165646. (Igatpuri Branch Code: 0386)
Donations from outside India can be remitted through SWIFT transfer to State Bank of India, Igatpuri Branch, Maharashtra, India. SWIFT Transfer details are as follows:
1. Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial trust: SBININ BB 528 Branch code 01247 beneficiary Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust Account No. 11542160342, Igatpuri branch code: 0386
2. Vipassana Research Institute (VRI): SBININ BB 528 Branch code 01247 beneficiary Vipassana Research Institute Account No. 11542165646, Igatpuri branch code: 0386
NB Please inform Accounts Department, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri 422 403, Email: email@example.com about your donation with all relevant details so that the receipt of your donation can be sent to you.
Two Pali workshops have been organized at Jaipur for Hindi-speaking Vipassana meditators from India and Nepal from 20 to 28 February and 23 to 31 May 2009.
Venue: Kothari Farms (Marugandha), Bhankrota-Jaisinghpura Road, 2 kms. off Jaipur-Ajmer Express Highway, Bhankrota, Jaipur. For registration, contact Ms. Meghana, Mobile: 96028-48896.
First Malayalam Publication and Newsletter
The first Malayalam Vipassana book, Pravacana Saramsham, a translation of the Hindi ten day course discourse summaries by Goenkaji has now been published. This book is useful and inspiring to Vipassana meditators as well as to non-meditators. It is available at VRI, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The online edition of the Malayalam Vipassana Newsletter is now available. It includes the 2009 course schedule of Dhamma Ketana, Kerala and list of VRI publications. Website: www.vri.dhamma.org/newsletters
Children’s Courses in Mumbai
To serve children’s courses in Mumbai, call 98200-22990.
|21-12||Ulhasnagar||13-16 yrs||6 & 7-12|
|21-12||Ghatkopar||10-12 yrs||6 & 7-12|
|4-1||South Mumbai||9-16 yrs||4 & 5-1|
|18-1||Goregaon (W)||13-16 yrs||16 & 17-1|
|18-1||Ghatkopar||9-16 yrs||16 & 17-1|
|1-2||South Mumbai||9-16 yrs||27 & 28-1|
|22-2||Ghatkopar||9-16 yrs||19 & 20-2|
Course Timings: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Registration: 11 am to 1 pm
Course Venues: Ghatkopar (W): SNDT School, New Bldg., Cama Lane, Opp. Vidyut Soc. Tel: 2510-1096, 2516-2505. Matunga: Amulakh Amirchand High School, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Rd, New SNDT College, King’s Circle, Matunga, Tel: 2510-1096, 2516-2505. South Mumbai: Tel: 2308-1622. Ulhasnagar: Guru Nanak School, Kurla Camp, Ulhasnagar-4. Tel: (0251) 252-2693. NB Please: *bring cushion, *register on specified phone numbers, *inform in advance if unable to attend after registration, *arrive on time for the course.
Goregaon: 18-1-2009 (10 to 14 years) at Vipassana Counselling & Research Centre, Siddharth Municipal Gen. Hospital, Goregaon (W), Mumbai. Registration: 16 & 17 Jan. from 11 am to 1 pm. Contact: Vijay Bhatia, 2308-1622.
Senior Assistant Teachers:
Ms. Barbara Luxton, Canada
1. & 2. Mr. Raj Kumar Singh & Mrs. Sarojini Chauhan, Fatehpur
3. Mrs. Rajinder Nagpal, Pune
4. Ms. A. K. Sashikala Balakrishnan, Igatpuri
5. Mr. Nara Bahadur Gurung, Nepal
6. Mr. Somnuk Sattayanon, Thailand
7. Mr. Yuth Itchayapruek, Thailand
8. Ms. Puangpaka Bunnag, Thailand
9. Mr. Jeremy Dunn, USA
Children’s Course Teachers:
1. Mr. Gajendra Singh Kushwaha, Vadodara
2. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Dua, Kapurthala
3. Mr. Sanjiv Kumar Saini, Kapurthala
4. Ms. Jagruti Vakil, Kutch
5. Ms. Sucharit Sudtanun, Thailand
6. Mrs. Jidapa Techavisesa, Thailand
7. Mrs. Christine Grey, Australia
8. Ms. Shana Hart, Australia
9. Ms. Martha Kubisz, Switzerland
Dharama na Hindū Bauddha hai, Sikkha na Musalima Jaina;
Dharama citta kī śuddhatā, Dharama śānti sukha caina.
Dhamma is not Hindu or Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim nor Jain;
Dhamma is purity of heart, peace, happiness, serenity.
Sampradāya nā Dharama hai, Dharama na bane divāra.
Dharama sikhāye ekatā, Dharama sikhāye pyāra.
Sectarianism is not Dhamma, Dhamma raises no walls;
Dhamma teaches oneness, Dhamma teaches love.
Mānava mānava meṅ jahāṅ, bhedabhāva nā hoya;
Nijahita parahita sarvahita, satya Dharama hai soya.
Between one person and another, making no distinction;
Beneficial to oneself, others, to all—this is true Dhamma.
Maiṅ bhī dukhiyā nā rahūṅ, jagata dukhī nā hoya;
Jīvana jīne kī kalā, satya Dharama hai soya.
May I and may the world be without suffering;
This is the art of living, this is true Dhamma.