Vol.7 No.2 April, 1997
Words of Dhamma
Itthi-misse kuto silam,mamsa bhakkhakuto daya; surapane kuto saccam, mahalobhe kuto hiri; Mahatande kuto sippam, mahakodhe kuto dhanam.
- How can there be morality in a monk who lives with women, compassion in a meat eater, truth in one who drinks alcohol, modesty in the greedy, skill in the very lazy, wealth in one who is given to anger?
- Lokaniti 138
The Giving Up of Anger
(Translated from an article in the Hindi Patrikā)
O my mind!
So long a time has passed but your restlessness has not stopped. The glowing coals of your anger are still smouldering within you. O ignorant one! You are constantly aflame with this fire of anger, you are tormented by this burning, and yet how ignorant you are of it.
You are constantly fanning these flames of anger. And it will only increase unless you find a way to extinguish this fire.
Someone has rightly said:
Sine sippam sine dhanam sine pabbatamaruham;
Sine kamassa kodhassa ime panca sine sine.
Skill in a craft or art develops gradually. Wealth increases gradually. A mountain is climbed gradually. Lust and anger increase gradually. All these five increase only gradually.
Like a fire growing gradually with new fuel, so does anger grow gradually.
Appo hutva bahu hoti vadḍhate so akhantijo.
Agitation breeds anger that grows from a small flame to a raging fire.
Asangi bahupayaso tasma kodham na rocaye.
Its company causes much pain. Which wise person will desire this destructive, evil anger? Yet fools always kindle it, little realising the adverse consequences.
anijanam yatha nava appamanabhara garu,
Atibharam samadaya anṇave avasidati;
Evameva naro papam thoka thokampi acinam,
Atibharam samadaya niraye avasidati.
Like the overloaded ship of a merchant sinks in the sea, so too does the foolish person sink to a woeful state, gradually overloaded with impurities.
Anupubbena medhavi thokathokam khane khane.
Kammaro rajatasseva niddhame malamattano.
Like the silversmith painstakingly purifies silver of dross, so too does a wise person, with right effort every moment, purifies the mind of aversion, anger, and hatred.
But the foolish mind, instead of reducing impurities, gradually increases them, and is tormented in this fire. Whether this fire within burns another or not, it will certainly burn you.
Katthasmim matthamanasmim pavako nama jayati;
Tameva kattam dahati yasma so jayate gini.
Just as the fire produced by rubbing two wooden sticks burns those very sticks, so too does the fire of anger produced by friction within burn you.
This fire of anger ignited within by friction with some ignorant person, does not make you any less ignorant because you are still burning in this fire.
Evam mandassa posassa balassa avijanato;
Sarambha jayate kodho sopi teneva dahyati.
It does not matter friction with which ignorant person ignited this fire. Fire burns. Whether the other person burns or not, this fire is certainly burning you.
What matters whether the other person is foolish or ignorant, an ascetic or a sage? Whether the friction is by sticks of neem or sandalwood, the fire caused burns those sticks. Fire burns. It matters not whether the fuel is coal or petrol, electricity or gas. Hence, the wise always remains heedful. Whatever the cause, the fire should not grow.
Sutva rusito bahum vacam samananam va puthujananam;
Pharusena ne na pativajja na hi santo patiseni karonti.
Abuse does not provoke the wise to abuse in return. The wise know that anger only fuels more anger like petrol poured onto a fire. One who understands the welfare of oneself and others neither starts a fire with harsh words nor fuels a fire with harsh replies.
Mavoca pharusam kanci vutta pativadeyyum tam;
Dukkha hi sarambhakatha patidanda phuseyyum tam.
So a wise person never speaks harsh words. If not, the listener reacts with harsh words. And every word filled with anger breeds misery. The speaker of such words always suffers.
Yo kopaneyye na karoti kopam,
na kujjhati sappuriso kadaci;
Kuddhopi so navikaroti kopam,
tam ve naram samanamahu loke.
The virtuous are never angry. They are not angered even when provoked. Or anger is never expressed. Only such a disciplined, virtuous one is a true saint. Truly, for the wise, anger never answers any situation.
Alaso gihi kamabhogi na sadhu,
asannato pabbajito na sadhu;
Raja na sadhu anisammakari,
yo pandito kodhano tam na sadhu.
It is wrong for a householder to be lazy and a slave to sensual pleasures, for a recluse renouncing the householders? life to be unrestrained, for a king to make hasty decisions, for a scholar to be wrathful. A truly learned person is never the slave of anger.
The wise protect themselves well. They know one's own protection rests in protecting others ; in protecting others one protects oneself.
Attanam rakkhanto param rakkhati,
param rakkhanto attanam rakkhati.
Protecting oneself one protects others; protecting others one protects oneself. Indeed, one who does not give in to anger is one who never retaliates with anger. Only can such a person protect oneself and others. Such are the truly virtuous.
Ubhinna-mattham carati attano ca parassa ca;
Param sankupitam natva yo sato upasammati.
Upon seeing another angry, the virtuous remain calm. Such is the wisdom that brings welfare to all. Facing the angry with anger only destroys both.
My foolish mind! The path of Dhamma on which you walk is the path of tolerance, the path of peace, the path of forbearance, the path of patience. I know that you, for now, cannot never frown like the Buddha, the King of Dhamma. But certainly you can quickly end anger whenever it arises. The Bodhisatta, the Buddha to be, practiced this life after life.
Uppajje me na mucceyya na me mucceyya jivato;
Rajam va vipula vutthi khippameva nivaraye.
The Bodhisatta was aware this arisen anger will be a lifelong shackle. Just as the rising dust storm is quickly quelled by a rain storm, so too should anger be quickly quelled. This the Bodhisatta did.
Uppajji me na muccittha na me muccittha jivato;
Rajam va vipula vutthi khippameva nivarayim.
This arising anger failed to bring me under its control. Thus it was unable to enslave me for a lifetime. Just as the rain quickly quells a rising dust storm, so too have I quelled anger.
Yamhi jate na passati ajate sadhu passati;
So me uppajji no mucci kodho dummedhagocaro.
How harmful is this anger! Thus this is well understood when anger is absent. For, when anger arises, all reason is destroyed. Even upon the arising of such destructive anger, I was not overpowered by it. Indeed, anger is the pasture land of fools!
Yasmim ca jayamanamhi sadattham navabujjhati;
So me uppajji no mucci kodho dummedhagocaro.
The anger arose which could destroy all the wisdom of a person such that he is unable even to understand his own benefit or loss; and yet such a destructive anger could not overpower me. Oh indeed, anger is the pasture land of fools!
Yena jatena nandanti amitta dukkhamesino;
So me uppajji no mucci kodho dummedhagocaro.
When anger arises within, my enemies are happy: they see I have sown the seeds of my sorrow. Yet, I quelled such destructive anger. It could not enslave me. Oh indeed, anger is the pasture land of fools!
Yenabhibhuto kusalam jahati parakkare,
vipulam ca pi attham;
Sa bhimaseno balava pamaddi kodho,
maharaja na me amuccatha.
That which overpowers and robs one off prosperity, that which has destroyed the mighty. Oh great king! This fearsome powerful anger could not ensnare me. I have been saved from being enslaved by this terrible, destructive wrath. The future Buddha, the young Bodhisatta, was delighted with this victory.
O my insane mind! You too should tread on the sacred path of the Enlightened One. Restrain your anger. Do not let it grow, nor be overpowered by it - lest animosity casts its shadow upon your life and darken it. Break free from its clutches before you are enslaved for ever. Let the sweet rain clouds of love and compassion shower abundant mettā and dispel the dust-clouds of ill-will that arise!
So me uppajji no mucci kodho dummedhagocaro.
That destructive anger did arise in me but it could not make me helpless, it could not overpower me. Anger is the pasture land only of fools !
Traveller on the Path of Dhamma,
S. N. Goenka.
An Exemplary Death
Dr. Tara Jadhav sat her first Vipassana course in 1986. Her search was over.
She had found the pure path of Dhamma. She did not need to explore any other path or technique, and began to progress on this path with single-minded dedication.
Dr. Tara Jadhav did not have any other responsibilities. So she spent most of her time progressing in Dhamma. She had walked on the path of Dhamma in many previous lives. With her abundant store of paramita, she was able to practice Vipassana very easily. Just like a fish in water does not have to be taught how to swim, in the same way Tara did not have to be given any special training.
She got the technique, the facilities, and she became engrossed in making best use of her time. Upon seeing that the qualities of mettā, karuna and capacity for selfless service were well developed in her, she was appointed assistant teacher in 1989 and senior assistant teacher in 1995. In spite of old age, she gave Dhamma service with great devotion. She kept strengthening her parami of dana while guiding students in Vipassana.
At the ripe old age of eighty-two years she came to take part in the Teacher's Self-Course in Dhamma Giri. The course started with anapana on the morning of 2 December 1996. She meditated intently throughout the day. After she did the 6 to 7 evening group meditation alone in her cell, she came to the Dhamma hall for the Dhamma discourse.
At about 7.30 p.m., as soon as the discourse began, she touched both knees, both palms and head upon the floor to pay her respects. Once, twice, and after she placed her head on the floor for the third time, she did not raise it again. She breathed her last in that same posture of Dhamma-salutation.
The female meditators sitting nearby were surprised because respects are usually paid three times at the end of the discourse. Why is she paying her respects at the beginning of the discourse? But that was her final salutation in this life. All the three times, while paying her respects, she said "anicca, anicca, anicca" in a very low voice. Those were her last words.
All serious meditators are taught that they should never pay respects mechanically. Only when one is equanimously aware of the impermanence of the sensations at the top of the head, does the salutation become meaningful. Tara would always salute in this meaningful manner. Her final salutation was also meaningful.
Tara used to tell her Dhamma sisters, "In this twilight of my life, I have only one desire: I should give up my body while meditating on this Dhamma-land ". Her strong Dhamma desire was fulfilled. Tara became blessed. Becoming established in Vipassana, on the path of liberation, she lived a life of Dhamma and ultimately she achieved an exemplary death.
My Vipassana Experience: Peace Within a Prison
(Kelvin Thompson is an inmate of Yerwada Central Jail, Pune. A 32-year old chemist from London, Kelvin sat his first Vipassana course in March 97 the second Vipassana course conducted in Yerwada prison. This interview was on Day 10, the Mettā Day).
"I left London in September 1993. I reached India and this problem started (alleged possesion of drugs). I was in Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai, until my case came up for hearing in July 1995. Then I was put in Yerwada here.
The DIG (Deputy Inspector General, Mr. D. N. Dawne) here told me about this Vipassana course. 'Do this course and you will get peace of mind,' he said.
I am looking for peace of mind.The situation here is getting desperate, real bad. I'm here stuck inside this prison. I may be here for how long, who knows. I want to see my parents, my wife Adeline, my daughter. I can't do that.
I took the 10-day Vipassana course. I thought a miracle will happen. But now I know what happens is according to the laws of nature. This is a wonderful technique. I am more happy now. But miracles have nothing to do with it. It's hard work.
At first I thought, 'What have these sensations got to do with my problems? What's it got to do with my miseries, to being locked up inside this prison?'
Then I began realizing how what was happening. Any sensation that arose in my body with my thoughts - pain, heat, itching - I would just observe it without reacting. It would arise, it would pass away. Why should I be reacting to something that was so impermanent? No sensation lasts forever.
Now when thoughts of anger arise, I could see what was happening to my body - my breath became hot, for instance. Earlier I used to hit out, rage for hours. Now I become calm in about 20 minutes. I am becoming calmer.
Now I can see that my problems are not caused by other people. The problems are within me.
Vipassana is a very different technique, you know. It strikes at the root of our problems and cuts it out. It's very practical. My friends and I first thought, 'What's this? No God? No religion?.' We suspected we were being converted to Buddhism. Then we realized it was nothing of that kind. My brother, this is essence of all the goodness in all the religions. And this is not just preaching or blind belief. This is a technique anyone can practice.
I could understand Vipassana much more easily because of my scientific background. In the lab, we purify chemicals from its impure state to a refined, ultra pure state. I think this is what I have been through. I have been through a mental purification. I don't think all my problems have gone. It cannot happen in just ten days. But what has gone has left me feeling much lighter. I am not the same person I was ten days ago. I am at peace."
(At a press conference, a few hours later, Kelvin Thompson and fellow inmates again spoke about their experience with their first Vipassana course. The Inspector General of prisons, Mr. Narawane, announced that Yerwada Jail will have regular Vipassana courses from now. The Maharashtra Government has already ordered that every prison in the state organize Vipassana courses for its inmates).
Letters to the Teacher: Vipassana in Iran
These are excerpts from letters faxed to S. N. Goenka from Vipassana meditators in Iran (a large group of Iranian male and female students did a 10-day course in Dhamma Giri in the winter of 1996).
Your students are grateful for the valuable technique of Vipassana. They have regular groups sittings in Tehran, and at the end of every session send mettā to you and all Vipassana meditators. - Dr. Abbas Rouhbachsh
Being in Dhamma Giri for ten days made me face my inner hell for a few days, and then made me find my little heaven inside. - Mrs. Ravan Kahriz
Do you remember the bird in your (Teacher's Residence) garden singing anicca ? a..n..i..c..c..a..!! - Homa Arzhangi
I will never forget this valuable sentence : "Be your own master." - Fatemeh Rahshenas
We hope that, as soon as possible, we have a Vipassana centre in Iran. - Ramin Aminian
The ten-day course in Dhamma Giri was the most peaceful days of my life. - Mohammad Eyvazi
(Messages also came from Kamran Abbasi, Fatemeh Nejad, Farzaneh Edalatmanesh, Mahsa Binazir, Nazila Garousian, Zohre Pour-Miraghaiy, Abdolah Esmail-Nasab, Mohammad Eyvazi, Maryam Nowghan, Kiandokt Nowghan, Farzaneh Toossi, Fariba Shams, Fariba Namazi, Shahrzad Pakzad, Maryam Ghatrifi, Mehsa Binazir).
Every life is a preparation for the next death. If someone is wise, he or she will use this life to the best advantage and prepare for a good death... Make this human life successful by practicing Vipassana. Then whenever death comes, it will come with the experience of an equanimous mind, bringing with it well-being for the future.
-- S. N. Goenka