Vol.10 No.1 January 21, 2000
Words of Dhamma
Cirappavāsiṃ purisaṃ, dūrato sotthiṃ āgataṃ; ñātimitta suhajjā ca, abhinandanti sāgataṃ. Tatheva katapuññaṃ pi, asmā lokā paraṃ gataṃ; puññāni paṭigaṇhanti, piyaṃ ñātiṃ va āgataṃ.
When a man after a long absence returns home safe from afar, his kinsmen, friends and well-wishers welcome him on arrival. Likewise, his own good deeds will welcome the well-doer, who has gone from this world to the next, as kinsmen will receive a dear one on his return.
Dhammapada - 219
Importance of Dhamma Dana
(The following is adapted from a Dhamma discourse to Vipassana meditators at Dung Kwang School, Kaoshiung, Taiwan on 24 August 1998.)
The Enlightened One gave us the noble path, walking on which we can reach the final goal of full liberation from all misery.
As we progress on the path we keep purifying the mind. As the mind gets purified it naturally starts overflowing with the qualities of love, compassion, and goodwill for others. While walking on the path of liberation, one not only works for one's own liberation but also for the liberation of others by helping them to come on the path of Dhamma. The Buddha's path is for one's own liberation as well as the liberation of many others.
As one progresses on the path, one keeps developing different pāramitās-qualities which helps one to cross the ocean of life and death. When these pāramitās are fulfilled, it becomes easy to reach the final goal.
Dāna is a very important pāramī. And, according to the words of the Enlightened One, the dāna of Dhamma is the greatest of all.
Why is it the greatest? Let us understand.
According to the law of nature, the seed that we sow will give fruits, many fruits and each fruits will contain the same type of seed. If we give dāna of food, then the fruit will be that we will get sufficient food in our present life and future lives.
According to the same law of nature, whatever type of dāna you give, you will get that type of fruit in the future in a greater quantity. When you give the dāna of Dhamma, the fruit that you will get is a greater quantity of Dhamma.
As a result, one becomes stronger and stronger in Dhamma which helps one to reach the final goal. That is why the Enlightened One said that, "The dāna of Dhamma is the greatest dāna."
Dāna of Dhamma does not mean that only the teaching given by the teacher is the dāna of Dhamma. Of course, this is a major part of the dhammadāna. But this dhammadāna of the teacher cannot be accomplished unless other things are available.
Because the dhammadāna is given in a residential course, a suitable facility is also a part of the dhammadāna. Even if a facility is available and if there is nobody to manage the course, then this dhammadāna cannot be accomplished. Even if a manager is available, this dāna cannot be fully accomplished unless there are Dhamma workers to help the manager.
So the facility to give the dhammadāna with food and other requirements, proper management, and the Dhamma workers-they all join together to give real dhammadāna. Those who manage the course and those who give service in the course are partners in the dhammadāna of the teacher.
One has to take training for a long time to reach the stage where one can teach Dhamma and give dāna of Dhamma. Everyone may not reach the stage where one can give dhammadāna. But everyone can certainly give Dhamma service which is a part of the dhammadāna given by the teacher. This dāna of Dhamma service will also give the fruit of Dhamma for this person in future. Not only that but by giving Dhamma service in a course, one starts understanding: "I received Dhamma because somebody gave service in the course. If I do not give Dhamma service in return, I am becoming more selfish, I am working only for myself."
One starts understanding the real teaching of Buddha, which is not only for one's self-liberation but also for the liberation of many others.
Before being appointed as an assistant teacher, before being appointed as a full-fledged teacher by my teacher, I had been giving such service in Dhamma courses for fourteen years. So from my own personal experience, I can say that giving Dhamma service, serving people in a Dhamma course, gives so much strength in Dhamma to oneself.
This is not my experience alone. I come across many students who come and report to me, "By giving service in a ten-day Dhamma course my meditation has become stronger."
Like the teacher, the Dhamma worker also gets so much joy in serving people in Dhamma. When a course starts, there is so much melancholy on the faces of the people who have joined. Everyone has some misery or the other in his day-to-day life. But after ten days, on the closing day of the course, the face of every meditator starts glowing; everyone is smiling and there is so much happiness on the faces of the meditators.
Seeing this big change in the people who have participated in the course, not only the teacher but also the Dhamma workers are filled with joy. This joy cannot be compared with any kind of sensual pleasure. This joy is pure joy-full of Dhamma, full of mettā, full of karuṇā, love, compassion.
There is another reason why Vipassana meditators should give service as Dhamma workers. When you take Vipassana courses, you try to change the habit of your mind. Instead of reacting to situations, you learn how to remain equanimous in different situations. While in the course, you are training your mind to remain equanimous with the help of the sensations. That is the root level of the mind. But it cannot be said that one has really become equanimous just by taking course after course. One becomes perfect in Dhamma only when one starts applying this equanimity in the day-to-day life in the outside world. And if a student is not very ripened in Dhamma, is quite raw in Dhamma, it becomes so difficult to apply this equanimity in day-to-day life.
One gets a very good training-ground to develop equanimity when one comes to give service in a Dhamma course. In a course, a Dhamma worker has to face many kinds of meditators, many kinds of situations. Some meditators may be very short-tempered. Some of them may have a lot of negativities. While serving in the course, one learns how to deal with such people who are short-tempered or who have a lot of negativities. In the atmosphere of the Dhamma course, there is not so much negativity as you find in the outside world. A short-tempered student of meditation might have a lot of negativity in his or her mind, but will not express it as strongly as in the outside world.
Still, some negativity is shown by short-tempered students coming to the course. The worker learns how to deal with these people. He learns it very easily because the entire atmosphere is a Dhamma atmosphere. In this Dhamma atmosphere it becomes easy for the Dhamma worker to maintain equanimity, in spite of all the provocation, in spite of all the negativities being exhibited by a student.
A Dhamma worker is not giving service all the time while in the course. Whenever service is needed, one gives service. The rest of the time, one gets the opportunity to meditate. So sometimes even if a Dhamma worker generates irritation, having come across some negativity of the student, he washes it out by meditating and starts generating love and compassion again.
This is how a Dhamma worker gets a training-ground, where one can easily train oneself to face the negativities of other people and to generate nothing but love and compassion for them. So by giving Dhamma service in a course, it becomes easy for this person to face the world outside, which is full of negativities, full of vicissitudes, full of ups and downs.
Therefore I keep encouraging my students of Dhamma, "If you really want to get established in Dhamma, if you really want to apply Dhamma in your day-to-day life, give some service in Dhamma courses and get proper training."
By giving Dhamma service in a course, you are fulfilling the teaching of the Buddha which is not just to help yourself to get liberated but also to help others to get liberated.
Therefore, I keep recommending to my students, "As you find time of ten days for purifying your mind for your own development in Dhamma, you must also give at least ten days in a year to serve others so that both the aspects of Buddha's teaching become stronger in you."
I want all of you to keep growing in Dhamma, not just to take courses and then to forget about it. You have to apply Dhamma in life. And to apply it in life, serve at least one course a year to get the strength to apply it in life.
May you all keep growing in Dhamma-not only for your good and benefit, not only for your liberation, but also for the good and benefit of so many others, for the liberation of so many others.
Bhavatu sabba maṇgalaṃ !
(May all beings be happy!)
New Vipassana Centres
Several new centres have been established around the world during the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Centenary Year.
Ajanta International Vipassana Samiti,
11 Ashok Vihar Society, Opp. MIDC office, Station Road, Aurangabad-431005. Tel: (0240) 334532, 332324, 484445
Sixteen acres of land have been donated for a Vipassana centre in Aurangabad. Goenkaji has named it as Dhamma Ajantā. Aurangabad is close to the ancient Ajanta and Ellora caves; and is accessible by road, rail and air.
Mehsana, Gujarat. Contact Tel: (02762) 44744, 53315
Land has been bought for Dhamma Divākara (Sun of Dhamma) in Mehsana. Construction will begin soon.
Mindada Quarter, Mogok, Myanmar
Contact: U Kan Hla, 80, Shan Su Qr., Mogok, Myanmar. Tel: (95) (09) 60704, 60498
Land has been purchased on the hill of Minn Ta Tar Qr. to fulfil the increasing demand for Vipassana courses in Mogok area This 25-acre property will allow construction of a facility for 250 students. Goenkaji has named it Dhamma Makuṭa (the crest of Dhamma).
Vipassana Sadhana Sansthan,
Village Rahaka, Sohna, Haryana
City Office: Vipassana Sadhana Sansthan, 98 Nehru Place,
Hemkunt Towers, 16th Floor, New Delhi 110019.
Tel: (011) 6452772; Fax: 6470658
Dhamma Sota (Stream of Dhamma) is being constructed on 16 acres in Rahaka village (12 km from Sohna), Gurgaon district, which is about 60 kms from Connaught Place, New Delhi.
The construction of the first phase is almost complete and the first Vipassana course for 60 meditators will be conducted from 8 to 19 March 2000. Thereafter, it is planned to conduct a course every month.
The centre when completed will have two meditation halls for 300 meditators, pagoda with meditation cells, residential blocks, dining halls, Teacher's Residence and an independent block for research activities.
North California Vipassana Centre,
P.O. Box 1016, Mendocino, CA, U.S.A.
C/o Tel: (707) 937-3304; e-mail: email@example.com
The Mendocino Vipassana Foundation recently purchased a 20-acre parcel of land in the town of Elk, about 20 minutes south of Mendocino, in the northernmost part of California. The land is mostly level and covered with stands of redwood trees interspersed with meadows.
Goenkaji has given this land the name Dhamma Maṇda, which means "Essence of Dhamma." Work has started clearing brush and improving the well, and initial steps are being taken to plan further development. The aim is eventually to build a center for 50 people, complementing the main California center, Dhamma Mahāvana, in central California.
Switzerland Vipassana Centre
LaSalome, CH-2325 Les Planchettes, Switzerland.
Tel  (81) 032 913 6081; Fax  (81) 032 914 1135.
Dhamma Sumeru (Celestial Mountain of Dhamma) is the first Vipassana centre in Switzerland. The centre is on two hectares of land set in very picturesque Swiss countryside near the French and German border 60 km from Bern. It is located in a village called Mont-Soleil, meaning 'mount of the sun'. The centre has a three-storey building, with the office and dining room on the ground floor. Two-bed and four-bed rooms are on the fourth floor, with the cellars, kitchen, showers and heating system in the basement of the building. Work is underway to accommodate 55 students. The first 10-day course is planned for December 1999, with four or five courses to be held in the year 2000.
Eastern Canada Vipassana Center,
P.O. Box 32083, Les Atriums, Sutton, Montreal,
Quebec H2L-4Y5, Canada
Tel: (514) 481-3504; Fax 879-3437
The Vipassana Foundation of Eastern Canada has purchased a 24-acre property in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, just north of the U.S. border.
The site is on the western slope of a small mountain near the village of Abercorn, south of Sutton. One of the most beautiful regions of Quebec, it is a vibrant area where French and English are equally at home. From Montreal the travel time is 90 minutes or less, and the location is easily accessible to 60 percent of the population of Quebec as well as to people in northern Vermont.
This is a center that can be used for Vipassana courses almost as is. A retreat centre, it was previously rented out to various groups for limited periods. The main building was constructed in 1973 and was extended within the last ten years. It contains all the facilities needed for 30 students. Monthly courses are planned, starting from late September 1999.
Goenkaji has named the site Dhamma Suttama, meaning "Dhamma is Most Excellent."
Barcelona Vipassana Centre, Spain
Centro de Vipassana, Cami de Can Ram, Els Bruguers, Santa Maria de Palautordera, 08460 Barcelona, Spain
Tel/Fax: 34 (93) 8482695. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spanish Vipassana Association purchased a building near Palautordera, about 56 km from Barcelona, in June 1999 to serve as the first Vipassana centre in Spain. Goenkaji has named it 'Dhamma Neru' meaning 'Heavenly Mountain of Dhamma'.
The quadrangular building of Dhamma Neru sits in the middle of a flat 2-hectare site surrounded by a high hedge and varied fruit trees. The nearest village is Santa Maria de Palautordera (St. Mary of the river's palace). To the north is the imposing mountain range of Montseny (meaning 'wisdom mountain'). The site is 400 metres above sea level and only 30 minutes from the Mediterranean, and enjoys a mild climate. The centre will accommodate 56 students to begin with, although the Dhamma Hall can hold 100 students.
Chaṭṭha Saṇgāyana CD-ROM version 3
VRI has produced the new updated version of the Chaṭṭha Saṇgāyana CD-ROM version 3 (CSCD) for free distribution as Dhamma dāna. It has the following new features:
1. Install Wizard to facilitate easier installation.
2. A faster search engine.
3. Copy and paste facility. (Use of this facility makes it possible to select a portion of the text from the screen by dragging the mouse, and copying it to the clipboard. The text can then be pasted to any document in a word processor.)
4. Any volume can be saved in a text file with Rich Text Format (RTF) in any of the seven scripts supported by the CSCD and then opened in a word processor.
5. A 32-bit version CSCD.exe for installation on computers supporting 32-bit, so the software will work much faster.
6. The new version also works on computers having Chinese Windows as the operating system. During installation, the Install Wizard gives the option to install it for Chinese Windows.
7. Many more new Pali volumes have been added. The CSCD now contains 216 volumes.
8. Facility of opening any Sutta from the list of Sutta names in a drop-down menu.
Please contact VRI or the Vipassana centre or distribution centre in your region for a copy of the CSCD. (Postage charges will be Rs 26/- for delivery of CSCD by registered post in India.)
Though the CSCD is freely available to all those who can use it, many scholars have requested availability of the Tipiṭaka on the Internet. Therefore, VRI is planning to put the entire Pali Canon on the Web for easy access by scholars around the world.
VRI has published Buddhaguṇagāthāvalī containing 1250 Pali verses composed by Goenkaji enumerating the qualities of the Buddha. The book is available in three scripts: Devanāgarī, Roman and Myanmar.
Price:India & Nepal: Rs 30/- (plus 22/- for postage charges by registed book post postage charges)
Outside India: $0.75 (plus $2.25 for handling charges and airmail postage)
Mr Martin & Mrs Deni Stephens
To serve Dhamma Neru, Spain and Portugal
Dr Jacques & Mrs Denise Tenzel
To serve Dhamma Maṇḍa, North California Vipassana Center
Senior Assistant Teachers
Mrs Sheeladevi Chaurasia, India
Ms Kusuma Abeyasinghe, Sri Lanka
Mrs B. K. A Milina Senadheera, Sri Lanka
Mr Geevaka de Soyza, Sri Lanka
Ven. Sister Upekkha, Sri Lanka
Dr (Mrs) Shelina Hetherington, U.K.
Mr Harshad Patel &
Mrs Hansa Patel, Ahmedabad
Mr Natwarsinh L Rathod, Malpur
Mrs Geeta Suresh Sampat, Mumbai
Prof. Chandra Kishor Sharma, Rewa
Ven. Nagita, Sri Lanka
Mr T. B. Wijesinghe, Sri Lanka
Ven. Sister Vajira, Sri Lanka
Miss Komi Mendis, Sri Lanka
Ms Eilona Ariel, Israel
Mr Martin John Haig, Australia
Mr Rémi Oriot &
Mrs Marie Fouilleul-Oriot, France
Mr Victor Mateo Lledo, Spain
Ms Eveline Schwarz, Switzerland
Mrs Claudia Scholtz, Switzerland
Mrs Marianne Guignard Fromont, Switzerland
Mr Karamchand Leal, U.K.
Mr Richard Paul Harding &
Mrs Deborah Leigh Harding, U.K.
Mr Surendra Naik &
Mrs Urmilla Naik, U.S.A.
[Appointment of new Children Course Teachers: in next issue.]