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founded by S. N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin






What is the Teaching of the Buddha? (Public Talk 3, Part 1)

(Public Talk 3, Part 1) (14 October 1951)
by Thray Sithu Sayagyi U Ba Khin

(In 1951, when Sayagyi was the Accountant General of Burma, he was requested by a religious study group to lecture on Teachings of the Buddha. The study group was headed by the information officer and the economic and finance officer of the Special Technical and Economic Division of the U.S. Government. Sayagyi presented a series of three lectures in Rangoon at the Methodist Church, Signal Pagoda Road. The following is abridged.)

My dear Dhamma brothers and sisters!

It will be recalled that in summing up my first lecture, I mentioned how Prince Siddhattha, the wandering ascetic, realized the truth and became Buddha. Lest you forget, I will repeat that portion again.

“Verily, Prince Siddhattha attained Samm± sambodhi and became Buddha, the Awakened One, the Enlightened One, the All-knowing One. He was awake in a way compared with which all others were asleep and dreaming. He was enlightened in a way compared with which all other men were stumbling and groping in the dark. He knew with a knowledge compared with which, what all other men knew was but a kind of ignorance.”

All religions, no doubt, claim to show the way to truth. In the teaching of the Buddha, as long as one has not realized the truth, i.e., the Four Noble Truths, one is in ignorance. It is
this ignorance (avijj±) that is responsible for the generation of mental forces (saªkh±r±) which regulate the life continuum (or conciousness) (viññ±ºa) in all sentient beings. Just as the life continuum is established in a new existence, mind and matter (n±ma and r³pa) appear automatically and correlatively. These, in turn, are developed into a vehicle or body with sense centres (sa¼±yatan±). 

These sense centres give rise to contact (phassa); and the contact of these sense centres with sense objects gives rise to sense impressions (sensations) (vedan±) which have the effect of arousing desire (taºh±) followed closely by attachment or clinging to desire (up±d±na). It is this attachment or clinging to desire which is the cause of becoming (bhava) or existence, with the attendant birth, old age, illness, death, anxiety, agony, pains, etc., all of which denote “suffering.” In this way Buddha traced the origin of suffering to ignorance.

The Buddha said:

Ignorance is the origin of mental forces;
mental forces, the origin of the life continuum;
the life continuum, the origin of mind and matter;
mind and matter, the origin of the sense centres;
the sense centres, the origin of contact;
contact, the origin of impression [sensation];
impression [sensation], the origin of desire;
desire, the origin of attachment;
attachment, the origin of becoming (existence);
becoming (existence), the origin of birth;
birth, the origin of old age, illness, death, anxiety,
agony, pains, etc. (which are all suffering).

The truth of suffering is therefore something which must be experienced before it can be understood. For example, we all know from science that everything that exists is nothing
but vibration caused by the whirling movement of an infinite number of sub-atomic particles. But how many of us can persuade ourselves to believe that our own bodies are subject to the same law? Why not then try to feel things as they really are, in so far as they relate to yourself? One must be above the mere physical condition for this purpose. One must develop mental energy powerful enough to see things in their true state. With developed mental power, one can see through-and-through, more than what one can see with the help of the latest scientific instruments. If that be so, why should one not see what exactly is happening in one’s own self—the atoms, the electrons and what not—all changing fast and yet never ending. It is, of course, by no means easy.

In reality this suffering within is a sequel to the keen sense of feeling the vibration, radiation and friction of the atomic units experienced through the process of introspective meditation called Vipassana, with the aid of the powerful lens of sam±dhi. Not knowing this truth is indeed ignorance. Knowing this truth in its ultimate reality means destruction of the root cause of suffering: that is, ignorance, with all the links in the chain of causation ending with what we call “life,” with its characteristics of old age, illness, anxiety, agony, pains, and so on.

So much for the Law of Dependent Origination and the root cause of suffering.

Let us now turn our attention to the causal law of relations as expounded by the Buddha in the law of Paμμh±na of the Abhidhamma Piμaka. This is the law, in the course of the
analytical study of which, six coloured rays emerged from the person of Buddha during his uninterrupted meditation for fortynine days soon after the attainment of Buddhahood. We have five volumes of about five hundred pages each of P±li text on this very delicate subject. I will give here only just an idea of the law.

There are twenty-four types of relations on which the fundamental principles of cause and effect in Dhamma are based.

These are as follows:
1. condition (hetu) 2. object (±rammaºa)
3. dominance (adhipati) 4. contiguity (anantara)
5. immediate contiguity (samanantara)
6. coexistence (sahaj±ta) 7. reciprocity (aññamañña)
8. dependence (nissaya) 9. sufficing condition (upanissaya)
10. antecedence (purej±ta) 11. consequence (pacch±j±ta)
12. succession (±sevana) 13. action (kamma)
14. effect (vip±ka) 15. support (±h±ra)
16. control (indriya) 17. ecstasy (jh±na)
18. means (magga) 19. association (sampayutta)
20. dissociation (vippayutta)
21. presence (atthi) 22. absence (natthi)
23. abeyance (vigata) 24. continuance (avigata)

I will explain to you now about the correlation of hetu (condition) and kamma (action) and the effect produced by their causes as I understand them.

Hetu is the condition of the mind at one conscious moment of each kamma (action), whether physical, vocal or mental. Each kamma therefore produces a condition of mind which is either moral, immoral or neutral. This is what in Dhamma we call kusala dhamma, akusala dhamma and aby±kata dhamma. These dhammas are mere forces (i.e., mental forces), which collectively create the universe of mental forces.

Moral (kusala) forces are positive forces generated from kammas (actions, words and thoughts) motivated by such good deeds as alms-giving, welfare work, devotion, purification of mind, and so on.

Immoral (akusala) forces are negative forces generated from kammas (actions, words and thoughts) motivated by desire, greed, lust, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, delusion, and so on.

Neutral (aby±kata) forces are neither moral nor immoral, as in the case of an Arahat who has got rid of all traces of ignorance (avijj±). In the case of an Arahat, contact (phassa) of sense objects with sense centres produces no reaction to sense impressions (vedan±) whatsoever, just as no impression is possible on flowing water which is ever changing. To him, the whole framework of the body is but an ever changing mass and any impression thereon automatically breaks away with the mass.

Let us now address the moral and immoral forces generated by conditioned actions with the planes of existence. For this purpose, I will classify the planes of existence roughly as follows:

Ar³pa and R³pa Brahm± Planes

These are beyond the range of sensuality. Supreme love, supreme compassion, supreme joy at others’success or greatness, and supreme equanimity of mind are the four qualities of mind which generate transcendently pure, brilliant and extremely pleasing, cool and light mental forces which find their location in the highest of the planes of existence. This is the reason why in these planes matter is superfine and there is nothing but radiance. The vehicles or bodies of the brahm±s cannot be identified with matter, but with radiation or light.

The Sensuous Planes 

These consist of:
1. planes of celestial beings
2. human world
3. planes of lower forms of existence

Planes of Celestial Beings

All good or meritorious deeds, words or thoughts which have a taint of desire for future well-being create moral mental forces which are considerably pure, luminous, pleasant and light. These find their location in the higher planes of celestial beings where matter is fine, luminous, pleasant and light. These celestial beings therefore have astral bodies varying in fineness, luminosity and colour according to the planes to which they belong. Ordinarily they live in heavenly bliss until their own moral mental forces are consumed; then they revert to the lower planes of existence.

Planes of the Lower Forms of Existence

I will now pass on to the lower forms of existence and I will come to the human world last.

All malicious, evil, demeritorious actions, words and thoughts create mental forces which are by nature impure, dark, fiery, heavy and hard. The most impure, dark, fiery, heavy and hard mental forces should therefore find their place in hell, the lowest of the four planes of existence.

The matter in these planes must therefore be hard, crude, unpleasant and hot. The human world is just above the concentration of these forces, which are meant for consumption (to be experienced) by those beings destined for the lower forms of existence. These beings, with the exception of those in the animal world, are invisible to the ordinary human eye but visible to those who have developed the higher powers of sam±dhi and secured the divine eye. Here suffering, both physical and mental predominates. This is just the reverse of what happens in the planes of celestial beings.

Human World

Now I come to the human world, this half-way house between heaven and hell. We experience pleasure and pain mixed together in degrees, as determined by our own past kamma. From here, we can, by developing our mental attitude, draw in our own mental forces that are in the higher planes. It is also from here that we can go down to the depths of depravity and tune up with the forces of the lower order.

There is no such constancy as in the other planes of existence. One may be a saint today, but he can be a rogue thereafter. He may be rich today, but he may soon become poor. The vicissitudes of life here are very conspicuous. There is no man who is stable, no family which is stable, no community which is stable, no nation which is stable.

All are subject to the law of kamma. As this kamma comes out of “mind” which is ever-changing, the effects of kamma must necessarily also be changing.

As long as man has inherent impurities in him and dies with the mental attitude tuned up with the mental forces of a plane of lower existence; then, at the last moment of his death, the next existence is automatically in that lower plane to clear, one might say, his debit account of mental forces there.

On the other hand if, at the moment of death, his mental attitude is associated with the forces in the human world, the next existence can be in the human world again. If, however, his mental attitude at the last moment of death is associated with the reminiscence of his good deeds, the next existence will normally be in the celestial world where one enjoys the credit balance of ones own mental forces there. One goes to the brahm± world, if at the moment of death his mind is not sensual, but is pure and tranquil. This is how kamma plays its role in Dhamma with mathematical precision.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the essential teachings of Buddha. How these teachings affect the individual depends on how one takes them. The same applies to the family, the community or the people in general. We have followers of the Buddha in faith and followers of the Buddha in practice. Yet there is another class of followers who are simply labelled followers of the Buddha by birth. Only followers of the Buddha in actual practice can secure the change in mental attitude and outlook. Let them only observe the five precepts; they are the followers of the teachings of Buddha. If this were followed by all the Buddhists in Burma, there would be no internecine strife such as we are having here in Burma. But there is another disturbing factor: that is, the bodily requirements. One must have the bare necessities of life. Life is more precious to him than anything else. The tendency therefore is to break the laws of discipline, whether religious or governmental, for one’s self-preservation and for the preservation of others depending on him.

What is most essential is the generation of pure and good mental forces to combat the evil mental forces which dominate mankind. This is by no means easy. One cannot rise to the level of pure mental attitude without the help of a teacher. If we want effective power to combat these forces, we must work for it according to Dhamma. Modern science has given us, for what it is worth, the atomic bomb, the most wonderful and yet at the same time the most dreadful product of man’s intelligence. Is man using his intelligence in the right direction? Is he creating good or bad mental forces, according to the spirit of the Dhamma? It is our will that decides how and upon what subject we shall use intelligence. Instead of using intelligence only for the conquest of atomic energy in matter without, why not use it also for the conquest of atomic energy within?

This will give us the “peace within” and enable us to share it with all others. We will then radiate such powerful and purified mental forces as will successfully counteract the evil forces which are all around us. Just as the light of a single candle has the power to dispel darkness in a room, so also the light developed in one man can help dispel the darkness in several others.

To imagine that good can be done by the means of evil is an illusion, a nightmare. The case in point is that of Korea. For all the loss of lives on both sides, now over one million, are we nearer to, or further away from peace? These are the lessons which we have learned. Change of mankind’s mental attitude through Dhamma is the solution. What is necessary at the moment is mastery over the mind and not only mastery over matter.

(To be continued in the next issue)

-- From the ‘Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal’

Year / Month: 
May, 2018
Dhamma Vani: 

Hara harakata ke m³la men, k±raºa sacc± dekha, Bina k±raºa sans±ra men, patt± hile na eka.

- See the real cause of every event or action, Nothing happens in the world without a cause, not even a leaf shakes without it.

Jo c±he sukha n± ghaμe, hoya dukhon k± n±oea, D±s² bana t¥OEº± rahe, mata bana t¥OEº± d±sa.

- Whoever wants suffering to be eliminated and happiness not reduced, Let him not become a slave of desire but let him see that desire becomes his maid servant.

Dukha k±raºa duOEkarma hai, dukha karaºa n± deva, To phira apane karma ko, kyon na svaccha kara leva.

- The cause of suffering is one’s unwholesome actions, not any outside god, Knowing this why does one not purify one’s actions?

Dukha k± k±raºa d³ra kara, p±y² sukha k² kh±na, Duhkha niv±raºa kara liy±, pulakita tana- mana-pr±ºa.

- Removing the cause of suffering I became abundantly happy, Now that I have eradicated suffering, both my body and mind are suffused with happiness


Words of Dhamma: 

Sabbe saªkh±r± dukkh±’ti, Yad± paññ±ya passati; Atha nibbindati dukkhe, esa maggo visuddhiy±.
- Dhammapada- 278, Magga vagga.

- “Unsatisfactory are all conditioned things”– when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.


An±p±na given to Indian Navy Trainees at INS Chilika, Odisha

About 3000 Indian Navy Trainees and Navy Officers at INS CHILIKA, Odisha took Anapana and listened to an introduction to Vipassana. They all have reported that they have benefited from the Anapana session. Their Group Officers will be monitoring them on day to day basis and will see that they continue daily practice. It is a good opportunity to serve the nation and mankind as well. Dhamma Bhubaneshwar arranged this event with the help of Indian Navy.

Basic Diploma and Advanced Diploma Courses on the teachings of the Buddha, Vipassana theory and practice

Vipassana Research Institute (VRI) and Mumbai University jointly conduct these courses on theoretical and practical aspects of the Buddha’s teachings and practical application
of Vipassana in various fields. Duration of course: 31-June-2018 to March end 2019. Classes: every Saturday 2:00 to 6:00 pm.

Eligibility: Min. 12th pass or old SSC. By the end of the first term, students go to a 10-day Vipassana course as a part of the curriculum.

Admissions from 11th to 15th June, 2018 between 11 AM to 2 PM at Philosophy Department, Jnaneshwar Bhavan, Mumbai University, Kalina, Santacruz (E). Mumbai - 400098. Tel 022-26527337.

Please bring a photocopy of your Educational Certificate, passport size photo and Admission fees Rs. 1670/--.

For more information contact:
1) VRI office 022-62427560 (9:30am- 5:30pm),
2) Mrs. Baljit Lamba – 9833518979,
3) Ms. Rajshree - 9004698648,
4) Mrs. Alka Vengurlekar – 9820583440.


Children courses: 

Children’s Meditation Courses in Mumbai

Registration before Course Thursday and Friday.

Date Course site
First Sunday Ulhasnagar, Wadala, Khar
Second Sunday Dombivili, Andheri
Third Sunday Airoli, Kalyan

(Age 10-16 Registration 2 days before Course)

“Please call or send a text SMS message with the name & age of the child two days in advance for registration”

Course Timing: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Registration Timing: 11 am to 1 pm on the specified numbers and dates for each location.
Course Venues:
Goregaon: Vipassana Counselling and Research Centre, Siddharth Municipal General Hospital, Goregaon (W), Mob. 98924-15803, Tel: 2624-2025.
Ulhasnagar: A Block 703/1405, Gokul Nagar, Behind Netaji School, Near Mahesh Granite, Tel. 9970755130,
Wadala: “BMC School – Sewri Wadala Estate Road No: 7A Behind Lijjat Papad Building Contact: Mobile: 98922-18186, 98201-50336,
Khar: Mahabodhi Buddha Vihar, Baudha Smashan Bhumi, Carter Rd. Danda, Khar West, Mumbai-52, Mob. 9930962652, 9869281410,
Dombivili: Tilak School, Tilak Nagar, Dombivli, Mob. 9029423540.
Andheri: Mayfair Meridian Meditation Hall, Ceaser Road, Off S.V. Road, Amboli, Near St. Blaise Mob. 9967480865, 9967813478.
Ghatkopar: SNDT School, New Building, Cama Lane, Ghatkopar (W), Opp Vidyut Society, Mumbai 400086. Tel: 25011096, 25162505.
Airoli: Dnyandeep School, sector 2, Airoli, Mobile: 9969267720, 9969950901.
Kalyan: Krishanrao Dhlup KDM school No. 4, Ram baug lane no 5, Near old Vani Vidyalay. Mob. 9987425633. -- Please call two days in advance for registration

NB: *Please bring a cushion. *Please register on the specified phone numbers. If unable to attend after registration, please *Inform in advance. *Please arrive on time for the course.



Global Vipassana Pagoda related: 

Job Opportunities at Global Vipassana Pagoda

  • Manager-Projects, Assistant Manager-Projects, Executive-Projects:

candidate should have experience of Co-ordination/Follow up/Compliance with Government department like Mantralaya, MCGM, UDD, MTDC, MSD, MBMC and other related organisations. Retired Government Officers are welcome. Compensation construe to capability.

  • Manager-CSR, Assistant Manager-CSR, Executive-CSR:

Full time person for co-ordination and arrangement with companies to deploy the funds so available with them under CSR. Job profile includes various types of work in the Pagoda and outside the premises of the Pagoda. The candidate should have good communication skills. Knowledge of Marathi and English is preferable. Compensation construe to capability. 

Please mail your resumes to chairman@globalpagoda.org and directorproject@globalpagoda.org

Corpus Fund for Global Vipassana Pagoda

A Corpus fund of Rs125 Crores (Appx.) 1 crore INR = 155,835.82 USD. is being built accumulated by the Global Vipassana Foundation for the smooth functioning of various activities at the pagoda. Here is a chance to donate and earn merits which will last for centuries.
Contact: 1. Mr. Derik Pegado, 9921227057. or 2. Sri Bipin Mehta, Mo. 9920052156, A/c. Office: 022-62427512/ 62427510; Email: audits@globalpagoda.org;
Bank Details: ‘Global Vipassana Foundation’, Axis Bank Ltd., Sonimur Apartments, Timber Estate, Malad (W), Mumbai - 400064, Branch - Malad (W). Bank A/c No.- 911010032397802; IFSC No.- UTIB0000062; Swift code: AXISINBB062.

The Construction of Dhammalaya 2

To give free accommodation to Dhamma Sevakas and meditators who come here for a one-day course from far-off places Dhammalaya-2 will be constructed soon. Those who want to earn merit by contributing to the construction work should Contact:

1. Mr. Derik Pegado, 9921227057. or 2. Sri Bipin Mehta, Mo. 9920052156, A/c. Office: 022-62427512/62427510 (9:30AM—5:30PM)
Email: audits@globalpagoda.org; Bank
Details: ‘Global Vipassana Foundation’, Axis Bank Ltd., Sonimur Apartments, Timber Estate, Malad (W), Mumbai - 400064, Branch - Malad (W). Bank A/c No.- 911010032397802;
IFSC No.- UTIB0000062; Swift code: AXISINBB062.

Importance of Lighting a Pagoda

Respected Goenkaji always said that it is of special importance that a Pagoda where relics are kept be well lit throughout the night. This helps maintain the Dhamma atmosphere. Anyone wishing to donate for the lighting of the Global Pagoda in the name of their near and dear ones may do so. The cost per night is Rs. 5000/-. For further information Contact: 1. Mr. Derik Pegado, 9921227057. or 2. Sri Bipin Mehta, Mo. 9920052156,
Email: audits@globalpagoda.org

One-day Mega course schedule at Global Vipassana Pagoda for 2018

29th July, Ashadha-Purnima (Dhammachakka Pravartan day); Sunday 30th September in Gratitude of Respected S.N. Goenka (29th Sept.) & Sharad Purnima. One-day
mega course at GVP onwards till 4 pm. Non-meditators may participate in the 3 pm discourse.

Please come only with prior registration. Samagg±na½ tapo sukho: Avail of the immense benefit of meditating in large group.

For registration Contact: 022-62427544, 022-28451170 Extn: 9, Mob. 8291894644 (Tel booking: 11 am to 5 pm daily).

Online registration: Please click here.

Pali Classes: 

V.R.I. Academic Schedule-2018, Global Pagoda, English-Pali Eight week Residential course 

Date: 14th July to 11th Sep. 2018.

Please find Eligibility Criteria for Above course on: http://www.vridhamma.org/Theory-And-Practice-Courses.

For more information contact between (9:30 am to 5:00 pm):

Mrs, Baljit Lamba: 9833518979,
Mrs. Alka Bengurlekar: 9820583440,
Mrs Archana Deshpande: 9869007040,
VRI office-022-62427560,
E-mail: mumbai@vridhamma.org

Edition Details: 


Edited and published by R. P. Yadav for VRI, Igatpuri-422 403 and printed at Apollo Printing Press, 259, SICOF Ltd., 69 MIDC, Satpur, Nashik-422 007 29 May, 2018 Posted at Igatpuri, Dist. Nashik, Posting Day: Purnima of every month Vip. NL Regd. No. 49916/90; P. Regn No. NSK/RNP-232/2018-2020