(30 September 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…
Path Leading to the Extinction of Suffering
What, then, is the path leading to the extinction of suffering? The path is none other than the Noble Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha in his first sermon. This Eightfold Path is divided into three main stages, namely: sīla, samādhi and paññā.
Sīla (moral precepts):
1. right speech
2. right action
3. right livelihood
Samādhi (concentration of mind):
4. right exertion
5. right attentiveness
6. right concentration
7. right aspiration
The three characteristic aspects of sīla are as follows:
1.sammā-vācā (right speech)
2.sammā-kammanta (right action)
3.sammā-ājīvo (right livelihood)
By right speech is meant: speech which must be true, beneficial and neither foul nor malicious.
By right action is meant: fundamentals of morality which are opposed to killing, stealing, sexual misconduct and drunkenness.
By right livelihood is meant: ways of living by trades other than those which increase the suffering of all beings (such as slave trading, the manufacturing of weapons, and trafficing in intoxicating drugs)
These represent generally the code of morality as initially pronounced by the Buddha in his very first sermon. Later, however, he amplified it and introduced separate codes for monks and lay disciples.
I need not worry you with what has been prescribed for monks. I will just let you know what the code of morality for a lay student is. This is called the pañca s²la or the Five Precepts. They are:
1. pāṇātipātā—abstention from killing any sentient beings. (Life is the most precious for all beings; and in prescribing this, Buddha’s compassion extends to all beings.)
2. adinnādānā—abstention from taking what is not given. (This serves as a check against improper desire for possessions.)
3. kāmesu-micchācārā—abstention from sexual misconduct. (Sexual desire is dormant in man. It is irresistible to almost all. Unlawful sexual indulgence is, therefore, one which the Buddha prohibited.)
4. musāvādā—abstention from telling lies. (This precept is included to fulfil, by the way of speech, the essence of truth.)
5.surāmeraya—abstention from intoxication. (Intoxication causes a man to lose his steadfastness of mind and reasoning power so essential for the realization of truth.) The pañca sīla are therefore intended to control actions and words and to serve as a foundation for samādhi (concentration of mind).
Ladies and gentlemen, we now come to the mental aspect of Buddhism which I’m sure will greatly interest you. In the second stage of the Eightfold Noble Path (that is, samādhi) are included:
1. sammā-vāyāmo (right exertion)
2. sammā-sati (right attentiveness)
3. sammā-samādhi (right concentration)
Right exertion is, of course, the prerequisite for right attentiveness. Unless one makes a concerted effort to narrow down the range of thoughts of his wavering and unsteady mind, he cannot expect to secure that attentiveness of mind which in turn helps him bring the mind by right concentration to a state of one-pointedness and equanimity. It is here that the mind becomes free from hindrances, pure and tranquil; illumined within and without. The mind in such a state becomes powerful and bright. Outside, it is represented by light which is just a mental reflex, with the light varying in degrees from that of a star to that of the sun. To be plain, this light which is reflected before the mind’s eye in complete darkness is a manifestation of the purity, tranquillity and serenity of mind.
The Hindus work for it. To go from light into the void and come back to it, is truly Br±hmanic. The New Testament, in Matthew, speaks of “body full of light.” We also hear of Roman Catholic priests meditating regularly for this very miraculous light. The Holy Qur’an, too, gives prominence to the “manifestation of divine light.”
This mental reflex of light denotes the purity of mind within, and the purity of mind forms the essence of a religious life whether one is a Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim. Indeed the purity of mind is the greatest common denominator of all religions. Love, which alone is the means for the unity of mankind, must be supreme, and it cannot be so unless the mind is transcendently pure. A balanced mind is necessary to balance the unbalanced minds of others: “As a fletcher makes straight his arrow, a wise man makes straight his trembling and unsteady thought, which is difficult to guard, difficult to hold back.” So said the Buddha. Exercise of the mind is just as necessary as exercise of the physical body. Why not, then, give exercise to the mind and make it strong and pure so that you may enjoy the jhānic peace within? When inner peace begins to permeate the mind, you will surely progress in the knowledge of truth.
Believe it or not, it is our experience that under a proper guide, this inner peace and purity of mind can be secured by one and all, irrespective of their religion or creed, providing they have sincerity of purpose and are prepared to submit to the guide for the period of the trial.
When by continued practice, one has complete mastery over his mind, he can enter into jhānic states (meditative states of deep absorption) and gradually develop himself to acquire samāpattis (attainments) which will give him supernormal powers the same as those exercised by Kāla-Devala, the hermit teacher of King Suddhodana. This, of course, must be tried with very strict morality and away from human habitations but is rather dangerous for those who still have traces of passion in them. Anyway, such a practice, which gives supernormal powers in this mundane field, was not encouraged by The Buddha, whose sole object of developing samādhi was to have the purity and strength of mind essential for the realization of truth. We have in Dhamma forty different methods of concentration of which the most outstanding is Anāpāna, that is, concentration on the incoming and outgoing breath, the method followed by all the Buddhas.
Ladies and gentlemen, I will now take up the philosophical aspect of Dhamma in the third stage of the Noble Eightfold Path: paññā (insight).
The two characteristic aspects of paññ± are:
1. sammā-saṅkappo (right aspiration)
2. sammā-diṭṭhi (right understanding)
Right understanding of the truth is the aim and object of the Buddha’s teaching. Right aspiration or (right thought) is the analytical study of mind and matter, both within and without, in order to come to the realization of truth.
You have heard of nāma and rupa (mind and matter) so many times, I owe you a further explanation.
N±ma is so called because of its tendency to incline towards an object of the senses. Rupa is so called because of its impermanence due to perpetual change. The nearest terms in English to nāma and rupa, therefore, are mind and matter. I say “nearest” because the meaning is not exact.
N±ma, strictly speaking, is the term applied to the following:
1. viññāṇa (consciousness)
2. vedanā (feeling/sensation)
4.saṇkhāra (volitional energies or mental forces).
These together with rupa in the material state make what we call the pañca-khandhas (five aggregates).
It is with the five aggregates that the Buddha summed up all the mental and physical phenomena of existence (which in reality is a continuum of mind and matter coexisting, but which to a layman is his personality or ego).
In sammā-saṇkappo (right aspiration), the disciple who, by then, has developed the powerful lens of sam±dhi, focuses his attention on his own self and by introspective meditation makes an analytical study of nature: first, of rupa (matter) and then of nāma (mind and mental properties). He feels (and at times he also sees) the kalāpas in their true state. He begins to realize that both rupa and nāma are in a constant state of change – impermanent and fleeting. As his power of concentration increases, the nature of forces in him becomes more and more vivified. He can no longer get out of the impression that the pañca khandhas (five aggregates) are suffering within the law of cause and effect. He is now convinced that, in reality, all is suffering within and without, and that there is nothing such as ego. He longs for a state beyond suffering. So eventually getting out of the bonds of suffering, he moves from the mundane to the super-mundane state and enters the stream of sotāpanna, the first of the four stages of ariyas (noble ones). Then he becomes free from (1) ego; (2) doubts; (3) attachment to rites and rituals. The second stage is sakadāgāmi, on coming to which, sensuous craving and ill-will become attenuated. He ceases to have any passion or anger when he reaches the third stage of anāgāmi. The stage of arahat is the final goal.
Each of the ariyas can feel what nibbāna is like, even as a human being, for any number of times as he may choose, by going into the fruition stage of sotāpanna, etc., which gives him the nibbānic peace within.
This peace within which is identified with nibbāna has no parallel because it is super-mundane. Compared to this, the jhānic peace within (which I mentioned earlier in dealing with samādhi) is negligible because, while the nibbānic peace within takes one beyond the thirty-one planes of existence, the jhānic peace within will still keep him within these planes, for example, in the fine material world of the brahmās.
Ladies and gentlemen, just a word more. What I have said here are just some of the fundamental aspects of Dhamma. With the time at my disposal, I hope I have given you my best.
To come to a state of purity of mind with a light before you; to go to the jh±nic state at will; to experience, for yourselves, nibbānic peace within these are all within your reach.
Why not, then, try for the first two at least which are within the confines of your own religion? I am prepared to give any help that you may require.
May I again express my gratitude to you all for the patient listening.
(To be continued in the next issue)
– From the ‘Sayagyi U Ba Khin Journal’
Kāraṇa tere duhkha ke, bhītara hīhain jāna, Kyā tu dhunnhe bāvarā! bahirmukhi nādāna
- Foolish one, know that the cause of your suffering is within you! Why do you look for it outside yourself?
Nanhīn sī trsnā jagī, banī gahana āsakti, Jaba taka mana āsakta hai, kahān duhkno se mukti?
- First of all, a small desire arises which turns into craving, So long as one’s mind is attached, how can one be free from suffering?
Sadā sīlā men rata rahe, rākhe citta adola, Prajñā men pakatā rahe, yahī dharma anamola.
- One should always observe moral precepts and keep one‘s mind steadfast and should try to develop wisdom, this is the priceless Dhamma.
Prajñā jala se ragada kara, mana ke maila utāra, Antarmala chute binā, thothe sabhī sudhāra.
- One should wash out one‘s mental defilement by scrubbing them with the water of wisdom, So long as one is not free from the defilements within, all one’s efforts to purify oneself are meaningless.
Sabbadānam dhammadānam jināti; Sabbarasam dhammaraso jināti; Sabbaratim dhammarati jināti, Taṇhakkhayo sabbadukkham jināti.
— Dhammapada- 354, Taṇhāvaggo
The gift of Dhamma surpasses every gift; the taste of Dhamma surpasses every taste; delight in the Dhamma surpasses every delight; the destruction of craving overcomes all misery.
1.Mrs. Sunanda Mandhana, Kolhapur To assist Centre Teacher in serving Dhammalaya, Kolhapur
2.Dr. Lakhichand Birla, Dhule To assist the Centre Teacher in serving Dhamma Sarovara, Dhule
Newly Appointed Senior Assistant Teachers
1.Mr. Norbu Bhutia, Sikkim
2.Mr. Anupong Thepwarin, Thailand
Newly Appointed Assistant Teachers
1.Mrs. Shashikala Bhalerao, Jalgaon
2.Mr. Raja Shinde, Ulhasnagar
3.Mrs.Pramila Raut, Washim
4.Mr. Jaideo Walde, Gondia
5.Mr. Alok Sahu, Durg
6.Mrs. Saroj.V, Hyderabad
7.Ms. Rexinova Chakama, Mizoram
Children Course teachers
1. Mrs. Kshma Gupta, Hapur, UP
2. Mrs. Mithilesh Mittal, Mathura, UP
3. Mrs Vijaya Kumar Kulthe, Ahmednagar, MS
4. Mr. Martin Kordek, Czech Republic
5. Mr Michael Kwok, Taiwan
6. Mrs Catherine Huang, Taiwan
7. Mrs. Carmen Stanciu, Romania
8. Mr. Peter Botnariuc, Romania
9. Ms. Teodora Hadzhibozheva, Bulgaria
10. Ms. Michael Georgieva, Bulgaria
11. Ms. Eva Mihalyi, Hungary
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.
Shri Shyambihari Goenka – the 4th son of respected Guruji and Mataji – passed away at his residence in Mumbai on 10th April, 2018 at the age of 67. He learned Anapana and Vipassana from Sayagyi U Ba Khin in Myanmar, completed his college education in Mumbai and then cooperated fully in the family trade and business.
In the early days of the spread of Vipassana he contributed a lot in the establishment of Dhamma centres. He also made Dhamma Yatras very successful by himself joining and supervising them. The Dhamma family wishes him all the best.
Registration before Course Thursday and Friday.
Other places as under:
|First Sunday||Ulhasnagar, Wadala, Khar|
|Second Sunday||Dombivili, Andheri|
|Third Sunday||Ghatkopar, Goregaon|
|Fourth 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
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.
Scientific Research on Vipassana Meditators
(A detailed research paper of EEG study done with the cooperation of Vipassana meditators (2012- 2016) has been published in the international journal ‘Biological Psychology’. Here is a summary of this study for your information.)
These studies were carried out in the Dept. of Neurophysiology, NIMHANS, Bangalore. Many Vipassana meditators (in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by SN Goenka) participated in the study; some of them have undergone two to three ten-day Vipassana courses (New Students) some have done long courses (Senior Meditators) and some are Assistant teachers of Vipassana.
The following are our findings:
1) All meditators had positive EEG report during meditation as compared to when at rest.
2) Even at rest, Teachers and senior meditators had higher theta-alpha wave and lower low-gamma wave. This means many years of meditation practice brings about fundamental changes in the brain circuitry (called neuroplasticity) so that even when they are not doing meditation, their brains function differently and may be more detached and have an objective view (equanimity) towards oneself and others. This may explain why long-term meditators often have better wellbeing.
3) Beginners had more delta wave and low-gamma wave throughout. This indicates that beginners put in a lot of effort to maintain meditative states. Long-term meditators can reach meditative states with less effort.
4) During meditation, Teachers and senior meditators had more low-alpha wave than the group of new students during all the meditative states (Anapana, Vipassana and Metta). Low-alpha waves in the brain are enhanced when we try to focus our attention on a thought/object and attempt to sustain it. These waves are also associated with preventing distraction. Thus, the long-term meditators were less distracted during meditation states than the beginners.
5) Interestingly, we found that only teachers had changes in brain complexity for all meditative states while seniors did not show any changes. This indicates that even though both Teachers and seniors are long-term meditators, the brain activity of Teachers works more efficiently.
The above findings point towards neuroplasticity: the wonderful ability of our brain to reorganize the brain circuitry by forming new connections. Proficient meditation could bring in these changes which might explain the enhanced well-being associated with Vipassana practice.
We take the opportunity to thank all our meditator participants of the study. Without their co-operation, this would not have been possible. We also thank VRI for extending all support and encouragement to facilitate the study.
Third phase of Sleep study
The present study aims to understand the efficiency of Vipassana meditation in modulating the brain functions during sleep and dreams.
For this study, we need meditators, 30 each from the following groups, both male and female. (Age group 30 to 65 years).
1) Senior meditators who have been practising regularly for five years minimum and have completed two long courses.
2) Vipassana Assistant Teachers
Meditators should bring a recommendation letter from an Assistant Teacher. (This is not necessary for Assistant Teachers) Meditators need to stay 4 days at the facility; food and lodging will be taken care of and travel allowance (AC 2 tier) will be reimbursed. The study takes place during the night so the participants are free to move around during the day.
We request meditators to participate in this research so as to spread Vipassana worldwide.
For details and registration contact:
The Construction of Dhammalaya 2
To give free accommodation to Dhamma Sevakas and meditators who come Global Vipassana Pagoda site for a one-day course from far-off places Dhammalaya-2 (Residences) 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: email@example.com; Bank Details of VRI-‘Vipassana Research Institute’, Axis Bank Ltd., Sonimur Apartments, Timber Estate, Malad (W), Mumbai - 400064, Branch - Malad (W). Bank A/c No. - 911010004132846; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
One-day Mega course schedule at Global Vipassana Pagoda for 2018
Sunday 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 a large group. For registration Contact: 022-62427544, 022-28451170 Extn: 9, Mob. 8291894644 (Tel booking: 11 am to 5 pm daily). Online registration: www.oneday.globalpagoda.org.
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:
Mrs. Baljit Lamba: 9833518979,
Mrs. Alka Vengurlekar: 9820583440,
Mrs. Archana Deshpande: 9869007040,
VRI office-022-62427560, (9:30 am to 5:00 pm).
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Edited and published by R. P. Yadav for VRI, Igatpuri-422 403 and printed at Apollo Printing Press, G-259, SICOF Ltd., 69 MIDC, Satpur, Nashik-422 007
30 April, 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
DATE OF PRINTING: 18 April, 2018, DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30 April, 2018
Ownership of Vipassana Newsletter and other information
Name of the Newletter: Vipassana Newsletter
Frequency of publication: Monthly (every Purnima)
Place of publication: Vipassana Research Institute, Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri 422 403
Name of the printer, publisher and editor: Mr. Ram Pratap Yadav
Place of printing: Apollo Printing Press, Nashik-422007.
Name of the proprietor: Vipassana Research Institute
Registered Main Office: Green House, Second Floor, Green Street, Fort, Mumbai 400 023
I, Ram Pratap Yadav, declare that the above-mentioned information is true to the best of my knowledge.
Ram Pratap Yadav
April 17, 2018. Printer, Publisher and Editor