For free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma
Ajahn Puth Thaniyo, the Abbot of Wat Pah Salawan, Nakorn Ratchasima,
Thailand is one of the last surviving meditation masters who
revitalized and reactivated the forest tradition in Asia. This is the
tradition which many believe to most resemble in form and manner the
practice taught by the Buddha himself. Essentially, it is a way of
practice which is intended to push the envelope to the limit. And
then, keep on inclining into the unknown, insecure, and uncertain.
This is the way of practice which demands a continuous letting go,
letting go, letting go until there is nothing left to let go of or
hold onto. No toeholds, no secret hiding places, no worlds of fantasy
and hope. Ultimately, all that is left is the transcendent refuge of
the Buddhas'...the Crystal Clear Knowing in this Continuous Now
Present Moment. Right here is the freedom most of us hunger and
The forest tradition revived
practice which emphasized strict Vinaya discipline as the primary
facilitating factor in the process of development which could, in
conjunction with proper practice, literally emancipate us from the
tyranny of all the conditionning, all the programming, all the
education, all the rest of the "stuff" which has bound us for so long
to the wheel of endless becoming. It is possible to get real.
With the Vinaya as the backbone
to practice, the mendicant learns to live more and more simply and
further and further away from the demands of the insidious desire
system and all the clamoring and whining noises that go along with
it. Of course, that which is necessary and useful is maintained,
supported and nourished. But that which is superfluous and
encumbering to a seasoned spiritual life is left behind like the
dolls, tricycles, water pistols and jump ropes of our childhood. In
the phase known as adulthood, we have a duty and a responsibility to
grow ourselves towards wholeness in order to become compassionate and
holy beings. We are here to do just that. Even though, as we look
around at the state of the world, we wouldn't think so.
practice must be designed to help us in this process. Those of us who
have followed behind these pioneering forest monks are grateful beyond
words to those who ventured out into the dangerous forests with little
more than their bowl, robes, water filter and commitment to
disciplined practice. There, under the Buddha's discipline, they spent
years humbly enduring whatever the moment would manifest while
learning to recognize that whatever arose would inevitably pass away.
There was nothing that belonged to them personally. When malaria
arose, that was to be seen only as malaria. When tigers, scorpions,
snakes, or centipedes arose, they too were conditions that one had to
patiently co-exist with, while they ran their course and passed away
back into the emptiness which contains everything. When conditions
cool down, they naturally and harmoniously flow back into Nature. By
following anything and everything in line with Nature, all things are
as they are, as they abide in their Actuality.
And so this testing went on for
decades until the energies which spin out the world subsided and
passed away. Some monks died in the jungles. Some completed the work,
returning back to the world to help others and to point the way. It
is through the impact of this intense and determined practice that
dozens of Westerners have come to practise meditation in forests of
Thailand. The disciples of Ajahn Cha have taken this way of practice
"back home" so tradition is now living and growing in England,
Switzerland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and America. In these
countries Buddhism is already having a considerable influence upon the
social matrix, especially in the areas of conservation and medicine.
Here in Thailand, the disciples of
Ajahn Puth Thaniyo number in the thousands. He has given Teachings to
the royal family and almost all the important and high-ranking
ministers, senators, and district representatives. Even now in his
70's, he gives Teachings everyday in every part of the country.
As this is the first teaching of
his to be translated into English, the translator has selected a
particularly detailed, refined and comprehensive talk. If the
meditator reads this talk carefully, he/she will find before them an
easily accessible path of practice which can be entered into
immediately and with utter confidence. As you develop the foundation
for practice and the practice itself, you will soon find an
extraordinary transformation beginning to occur.. an opening; a
flowering, a spaciousness; a spontaneity. These are qualities which
can only come into being through spiritual practice. Those who can
appreciate these noble qualities won't need any further
Now I will take this occasion to enrich your understanding
of the Dhamma, the Teaching of the Buddha. In studying Buddhism, our
intention is to know the Truth - the true nature of all conditions.
The Buddhist religion, which is the teaching of the Buddha, is the
teaching that points to the actual truth of all conditions within
In order to help you
to understand this teaching, I will divide the word Dhamma into two
The first category we
call sabhava dhamma.
The second category is the conventional Dhamma; the Dhamma that is
The sabhava dhamma
was already in existence before the birth of the Buddha. We
attribute sabhava dhamma as belonging to the Buddha in so far
as he was the one who penetrated to the truth of all natural
conditions. For example, he was the one who realized the Four Noble
the truth of suffering
which is the truth of the cause of suffering clinging and desire
the truth of the cessation of suffering
Magga, which is the truth of the path to the end of suffering
the Eight-fold Path
The Buddha was the
only one to realize all of this fully. Although others before him had
partially realized these truths, they hadn't come to understand cause
and effect, nor did they know, as the Buddha knew, the truth of
impermanence, suffering and not self,
which are the characteristics of all conditions.
Prior to the birth of
the Buddha these characteristics certainly existed, and there were
those who had come to some understanding of the changing action
involved within Nature, but they didn't know this reality in such a
deep and refined way as the Buddha; they were not able to reach to the
heartwood. The Buddha was able to penetrate to the real heart of
inconstancy, imperfection and not self. After he fully realized this
Truth, he went out to teach it to others.
What is sabhava
dhamma? What do these words mean? Actually we all have reality
within us. What is that reality? It is the body and mind. In
addition to the body and the mind, the external environment and events
around us are also sabhava dhamma. Even learning and sciences
are sabhava dhamma. It is these conditions of Nature,
and in particular the body and the mind, which the Buddha came to
understand and to realize. In addition to realizing the truth of
these things, the Buddha also knew the causes for their arising.
For instance, he
understood the causes for rebirth as a human being. The underlying
cause which supports a human birth comes from a resolve to live
within the constraints of the five moral precepts as the bases for
skilful action. Whoever is able to keep these precepts purely is
assured of a human rebirth (rather than a rebirth in a lower realm).
This the Buddha came to know.
Before the arising
of the Buddha, nobody taught the truth, particularly truths such as
aging, sickness and death. Therefore, the Buddha taught that it is of
great importance that we contemplate the cycle of human life; birth,
aging, illness, and death, and to understand and clearly see the
implications of these facts. Some of you may wonder why it is that
the Buddha taught us to look into this matter when everybody knows
that all who are born must die? The Buddha wanted us to contemplate
these truths because he wanted to offer a skilful means for people to
come to know deeply and thoroughly realize these facts.
Although we have
observed and seen these truths already, it is merely a perception of
truth, not a heart-felt realization. There is something in us that
doesn't want to accept these truths. As long as we have not come to
terms with these truths, we will come into conflict with nature. When
we experience aging there is suffering; when we experience illness and
death there is suffering. As soon as the awareness that we may die
pops into our minds, suffering arises immediately. Why is that so?
Because we refuse to accept the truth of such things and so we must
learn the hard way.
The Buddha knew all
this and so encouraged his disciples to realize these truths for
themselves, beginning with "jaradhammomhi: I am of the nature
to age, there is no escape from aging; byadhidhammomhi: I am
of the nature to get sick, there is no escape from illness;
maranadhammomhi: I am of the nature to die, there is no escaping
death." The Buddha taught these simple and essential truths so that we
could arrive at an understanding of them on the experiential level.
Therefore, in studying
and practising the Buddha's teachings, our aim is to train the mind to
realize the truth of nature on the most profound level. Then our
minds will come to accept these truths and will no longer be at odds
with the laws of nature. When we no longer oppose the laws of nature,
our minds will be at peace. When these conditions arise in our lives,
we will not be upset or vexed by them, because we are already prepared
for them. This is the very nature of sabhava dhamma. We can
see this sabhava dhamma functioning in all life through these
aspects: all things are impermanent, imperfect, and not self. This is
natural truth (sabhava dhamma), which we also regard as the
Buddha's teaching on account of his being the first one to discover
and declare it.
Thus the other
category of dhamma is Dhamma as teaching. Dhamma in this sense refers
to virtue, concentration and wisdom.
Most of you are
interested in the practice of Dhamma which concerns training the
heart. In order to train the heart, we must first establish ourselves
in moral conduct. Virtue or morality is an essential aspect of dhamma
practice. It provides the necessary foundation for preparing the
body, speech and heart for their return to their normal and peaceful
condition. The five precepts which are within the capabilities of
any layperson to practice, are especially important. This is our
primary moral foundation on which the eight, ten and 227 precepts are
all based. All precepts can be summarized within the basic five.
Whoever you are, if you resolve to maintain the five precepts purely
and then practise meditation, you will be able to make the mind calm
and from there penetrate to the deep truths within all natural
conditions. From there, and this is most important, you will be able
to realize the Path, Fruit and Nibbana.
In the time when the
Buddha was still alive and teaching we find many examples of lay
disciples who kept the five precepts and attained Enlightenment. The
lady Vishaka and Anathapindaka, the merchant, were both wealthy
householders with many duties and responsibilities, but although
maintaining only the five precepts, and practising the teachings of
the Buddha, they attained the level of Sotapanna.
Some people these days
feel that practising the five precepts, they are inferior to those who
are committed to keep 8, 10 or 227. They believe that with only five
precepts, it is not possible to arrive at enlightenment. This is a
mistake. The truth is that the five precepts alone can and will
remove unskillfulness and weaken the consequences of unskillful
The kinds of actions
which lead to rebirth in hellish or unpleasant realms are all
prevented by these five precepts. Any other actions which lie
outside the confines of the five precepts will lead only to mental
turbidity. If we maintain the five precepts purely, we will have a
good chance of developing samadhi, practising the dhamma and
realizing the truth.
Therefore those who
are not in a position to keep more than the five precepts should not
feel inferior or belittle themselves by thinking that they do not have
enough precepts to become enlightened. That is a grave mistake. If
you are thinking of increasing your precepts, you should first
carefully consider whether you are capable of maintaining them.
Generally lay people
are capable of keeping the five precepts, which are : refraining from
killing, refraining from stealing, refraining from sexual misconduct,
refraining from wrong speech, and refraining from using intoxicants.
But many still choose to use cosmetics and perfumes, go to plays,
concerts, and movies, and engage in singing and dancing. Also, they
choose to sleep on comfortable beds. These are ascetic practices,
included in the eight precepts, and do not violate the five precepts.
However, if you want
to add the vikalabhojana precept but are not able to refrain
from eating in the evening, or undertake the mala gandha
precept but not refrain from using cosmetics and ointments, or take
the naccagita precept without giving up going to plays and
listening to music, or add the uccasayana precept but continue
to indulge in luxurious beds (which tend to increase sleep), this
shows that you are incapable of keeping these precepts. Undertaking
the additional precepts without the capability and determination to
keep them only increases your storehouse of unskillful kamma.
Nothing good can come of this. If you want to increase your precepts
you must first take a look at your own capabilities.
If we maintain the
five precepts purely, and develop meditation practice, our practice
will naturally progress and the precepts will increase on their own.
When the five precepts are in order, samadhi and panna,
insight into the true nature of reality, will follow. The state of
mind that arises when it is in samadhi, when it is at peace and
contains understanding of the true nature of conditions, will ensure
that the mind abides in a state of normalcy, which will initiate the
maintenance of additional precepts. Not merely the 227 precepts of a
monk, you can increase your precepts to 10,000 or even 100,000 if the
fundamental condition of the mind is sufficiently developed. Once the
fundamental stages of the development of our mind is good and proper,
we can uphold any number of precepts.
Therefore, when you
are considering increasing the level of your dhamma practice, be aware
of your capabilities and limitations, and practise accordingly. Don't
be foolish. Even though the wise praise the eight precepts and
recognize it as meritorious, if you find that keeping the eight
precepts brings up discomfort and distraction, then you don't have to
keep the eight precepts.
When I was a young
monk practising under Ajahn Sao, we were all interested in fasting.
There were times when we would fast for three, five or seven days.
Sometimes I would fast for nine days, but the result was always
weakness and hunger. In fasting, the body gets weak, and if there is
no nutrition to energize it, the body becomes exhausted. Being so
drained of energy it is not possible to practise a good standard. So,
rather than enhance our practice, the end result was more negative
than positive. Fasting can even lead to ulcers and intestinal
diseases which are painful and take a long time to heal. So if you
want to practise in the right and proper way, don't just fumble
about. Practise intelligently, taking into account the state of your
body and mind to see if you are up to the practice you are
contemplating. I ask you to take note of this warning in your own
Now let us talk about
meditation practice. The activity of practising meditation includes
both samatha, calm, and vipassana, insight meditation.
You have probably heard and read a great deal on meditation practice,
but some of you may be wondering what's the best and most effective
way to practise it. Some of you have come to ask me - "Luang Por, I
want to practice in a way which will produce the fastest results. Is
there some skilful means which will bring fast results? How shall I
practise?" In answer to this I say, "There is no such thing. Not in
this world anyway". The way to produce the quickest results in
practice is to resolve to practise with the utmost persistence. We
must practise in a way which goes beyond all hesitation and all doubt
so that practice is sustained.
example, you go study a method of meditation from one particular
teacher who teaches his disciples to observe the breathing as it
occurs in the abdomen. The student practises observing the sensation
in the abdomen as it rises on the inhalation and falls on the
exhalation. So you resolve to undertake that practice. Then you go
to study with the Abbot of Wat Paknam. There they use the mantra
Samma Araham. Then you resolve to practise in that way.
If you went to Ajahn Sao or Ajahn Mun for instruction in meditation,
they would teach the mantra Bud-dho. They instructed
their disciples to practise entirely with this mantra and stick with
There is an important
point here which needs to be clearly understood. Which way is the
straight and genuine way? The answer is that any meditation object
which you choose to work with can provided all the benefits, provided
that you sit in samadhi wholeheartedly three or four times a
day - and that each of those times you sit for a full hour. Each time
you sit, you sit resolutely. From such resolute efforts benefits will
automatically arise. If the benefits are not equal to our efforts it
is because we have not yet been able to cut off our worries and
suspicions regarding the particular technique that we are using. This
undermines the practice.
Today you are here at
Wat Pah Salawan and here the Ajahn (meditation teacher) instructs
meditators to use the mantra Bud-dho. Tomorrow you may
go and listen to Dhamma talk at Wat Mahathat and their Ajahn will
demonstrate the technique of observing the rising and falling of the
abdomen. The day after that you may go to Wat Paknam and they will
teach samma Araham.
After this experience
your suspicions will deepen and you will ask, "How is it that all
these Ajahns do not teach the same method?" If your mind falls into
doubt like this, you will be unable to grasp the essence of meditation
and settle on a technique. This is an obstacle to practice.
of what technique or mantra you use, I recommend that you stay with
just that one skilful means. Further I suggest that you firmly take a
hold of one of these tools of practice and resolutely get on with the
work. All of these meditation techniques are skilful means for
centering the heart on one object so as to prevent it from wandering
out into all kinds of distracting thoughts and feelings. In the
initial stages this is all that is required in meditation practice.
Now I will describe
the meditation technique taught by Venerable Ajahn Sao. He separated
practice into three steps. The first step is to contemplate on the
mantra Bud-dho. The second was the contemplation on the
unattractive aspects (asubha) of the human body. The third
step was to contemplate the four elements (earth, water, air, and
fire) which comprise all material phenomena.
As for the practice of
concentrating on Bud-dho, Ajahn Sao instructed that
immediately after completing chanting (Puja), we have a short
session when we spread loving-kindness (metta) for a short
while, then focus and concentrate on the virtues of the Triple Gem -
Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha - a couple of times. Following that practice,
we begin developing the meditation mantra, Bud-dho. The
meditator should think Bud at the time of inhalation and dho
at the moment of exhalation. If you find that while concentrating on
the inhalations and exhalations and reciting the inner sound Bud-dho
the mind drifts off into vagrant thought, then let go of the breath
and speed up the rhythm of the mantra. Thus you will be able to
re-connect with the meditation object and reestablish yourself. Don't
concern yourself over when the heart will become calm, or when you
will experience insight or samadhi. Don't think about these
matters. Your duty is to maintain the mantra Bud-dho
and not to sink into any of the passing mental states. Lightly
recollect the meditation object. Don't force the mind or tense or
contract the muscles in your body. Sit comfortably with the mantra.
Rest your heart in Bud-dho. Make the heart as light as
possible. Pay particular attention to this Bud-dho.
Take it into your heart. When you meditate on Bud-dho,
it blends into the heart. The heart is one with Bud-dho
and Bud-dho is one with the heart.
Practice like this
until the heart settles into peace. As the heart approaches calm,
observe that a state of tranquility, almost like sleepiness, arises.
Don't mistake this tranquility for sleepiness or sleep. When this
feeling of tranquility or sedation is present the meditator should be
with it and carry on with the Bud-dho. Don't try to
resist it. The mind becomes half-sleepy and may seem to drop into a
deeper state. When this occurs, some meditators may get startled and
have to re-establish themselves all over again. So the mind never
becomes peaceful because we keep getting startled by the dropping off
into the calm.
In this practice our
duty is to follow the mind states with awareness. Whatever arises is
allowed to be. Our duty is to stay with the awareness of that which
arises, all the time continuing with the mantra Bud-dho.
So, when this calm feeling of tranquility arises we just stay with it.
As it develops the
heart will brighten and the word Bud-dho will vanish.
When the mantra Bud-dho has disappeared from the mind,
don't think that you have forgotten your meditation object. This is
just the natural state of when the heart has settled into peace. We
practise with the mantra Bud-dho until the heart drops
into a state of peace and light, and releases the mantra word. Those
who do not understand the dynamics of this natural process may think
that they have let go of their mindfulness. Actually, this is a
natural transformation within the mind. The mind is beginning to
become calm, and this phenomena occurs which is similar to the sleep
state. Quite suddenly we feel as if we are being pulled down into
sleep. But just as suddenly, that condition changes and there is only
brightness. If, in fact, we are actually going to enter into sleep
that sleepiness would just carry through into dullness until we are
fast asleep and we would be completely unaware of what was going on.
This is the initial stage of developing the meditation object.
When the heart is
quiet and slips into a state of restful and still brightness, what
should the meditator do then? Ajahn Sao taught the the meditator
should then pay close attention to this bright mind, to peer straight
into the bright heart and become aware and mindful of the brightness.
The brightness itself then becomes the object of meditation. The
meditator should continue to look into this brightness until the heart
becomes progressively more refined. If at this stage the mind happens
to become aware of the breathing again, Ajahn Sao instructed that we
should then observe the breath. We should simply focus on the
breathing as it goes in and out without interfering with it or
questioning it. We don't have to distinguish whether the breathing is
fine or coarse, but just notice it. If we begin to note the mode and
texture of our breathing, the mind will change and our mind will
withdraw and samadhi will dissipate. For that reason you just
notice the breathing as it is, without any involvement. At this time
the heart will be bright and peaceful. We just let go of any
intruding thoughts which beckon us to investigate the breath, and
continue to note just the breathing. When the heart knows the in and
out breath just let it stay like that. The breathing becomes our
object of awareness and object of recollection.
Eventually the heart will become peaceful and subtle. The breath
becomes very subtle as well. The level of subtlety of the breath
corresponds to the level of subtlety of the heart. Finally, the
breathing just seems to stop and the body seems to disappear. At this
time the heart will be still and bright. In this state, the mind
doesn't think about anything. There is no awarenss of the breathing
or even of the body. At this moment the heart is absolutely one
pointed - still, bright and calm. The heart has now been raised into
appana, samadhi (absorption or attainment concentration). This
particular state of appana samadhi is not particularly useful
(for developing wisdom), but it is necessary to develop this state,
and to practise it often. When the mind is able to attain this state
more fluently, it enables us to know what the original nature of our
heart really is.
Formerly, we would
perceive our mind getting involved in all sorts of thoughts and mental
objects. When our practice penetrates into the peaceful and quiet of
appana samadhi, the heart abandons all these external
objects and is free of all thoughts and feelings. There is only a
still, bright state of peace. We know that, actually, the original
state of the heart is like this. This state of consciousness is
called pabhassaramidam bhikkhave cittam - The original state of
our mind is pure: calm, bright and clean. But it is made impure by
the defilements, which withdraw into the shell of the mind; they lurk
deeply within the mind and do not readily show themselves. At this
stage, mindfulness and clear comprehension (satisampajanna) are
not yet completely operational. There is only sufficient development
to sustain peacefulness momentarily or for a short period.
This state of mind
is called pathoma citta (the 'first' or 'original' mind), or
pathoma samadhi (basic concentration) or manodhatu (the
mind element). It is similar to a baby chick still inside its egg; it
can't yet do anything, all it can do is sit around inside the egg.
However, it is this state of mind which allows us to recognize the
original nature of our heart. This is a fruit of the initial levels
of meditation practice. When we repeatedly practise bringing the
heart to this level of samadhi, the heart becomes adept at this
first level of meditation. In the beginning stages, the heart may
unexpectedly drop down to a point of stillness. We may be able to
perceive the mind in the beginning, but by the time we come to the
middle stage we are no longer in contact or associated with it. Then
we may regain awareness at the end when the heart is one pointed,
still and peaceful. This samadhi occurs almost as a fluke. we
have yet to establish it in its full and proper sequence. However, if
we practise in this way often we will become experienced in
concentration and will be able to perceive the various factors of
jhana (absorption) as they arise, beginning with vitakka or
initial application. This refers to the application of the mind to
its object of concentration. Then there is vicara, (sustained
application), the sustenance of the mind on its object which leads to
brightness and peace. This is followed by piti, rapture, and
sukha, happiness. When the heart contains rapture it is at
peace. When the heart is still and at peace it is at the stage called
ekaggata (one pointed concentration).
These are the
characteristics of the original mind, at the level known as pathoma
jhana (first absorption). It is the samadhi which consists
of all these factors of jhana which can be used for the development of
insight meditation. The mind is malleable, easily inclined towards
reflection on the Three Characteristics. We must try to train the
mind in this way with persistence and patience. The practice must be
maintained calmly, because the agitated mind will not lead to the
development of samadhi with a meditation word or mantra as
described above, is the proper way to develop meditation. However,
if, as we continue to repeat the mantra, the mind becomes
progressively calmer and brighter, it may happen that the mind stray
outwards in the form of nimittas, or images. If a nimitta
arises and then the meditator hesitates or is perplexed or startled
by it, the mind will be alarmed and the samadhi, and the
nimitta, will dissipate. If you wish to observe the nimitta
for a long time, then you must bring your attention right into the
mind, which is the point of serenity. Reflect to yourself that
the nimitta which has arisen is a result of this concentrated
mind. If we leave our base of concentration, and go after the
nimitta that arise, there are two possibilities that may occur:
The first is that our samadhi will withdraw. The second
possibility is that our mind will follow the nimitta. If you
see the nimitta in the form of a person, the mind will follow
that person. If you see a nimitta which is a devata
(angel), consciousness may go and follow the devata. If
you want to see heaven or hell you will follow the devata into
heaven or you will follow a demon into hell. This is the mind flowing
outwards, taking an interest in external concerns outside of our
sphere of deliberation. If you have sufficient presence of mind you
can follow whatever is occuring and observe what is out there. You
can take awareness of this movement as your meditation object which
can then be a tool for knowing and an object for mindfulness. But
there is a potential problem here. External nimittas tend to
have a deluding effect on meditators. People tend to take them as the
truth. If they see a person they can be misled into blindly thinking
that they are really looking at a person. This is especially so in
the case of ghosts. We may believe that some kind of spirit has come
to beg punna (merit), and so we are distracted into trying to share
our merit with them. When the mind begins to think about sharing
boon (merit), samadhi will slip away and the nimitta will
Therefore the ardent
meditator should carefully monitor the events that arise in the course
of meditation practice. And how do we do this? By trying to observe
and be aware of the heart, at the point where there is samadhi
or the state of calm. Whatever arises, don't get interested in it:
rather, maintain the heart in peacefulness. When we are able to
sustain the mind in peacefulness, or samadhi, continuously, the
nimittas will appear for longer periods of time, and can even
be skilful means for realizing and seeing the Dhamma. I want to
emphasize this point for you.
I have often said
that all mantra meditation is capable of making the heart peaceful and
still all the way up to the dimension of upacara samadhi. I
would like to discourse further on the Ten Recollections,
beginning with the reflection on the Buddha up to the eighth one.
Whoever is practising any of these first eight recollections will be
able to question the heart up to the level of upacara samadhi
though not beyond that point. These eight recollections cannot take
one to appana samadhi. Only the last two reflections, that is,
anapanasati (mindfulness of the breath) and
kayagatasati (mindfulness of the body), possess the means to bring
the citta up to the level of appana samadhi or the level
of samatha. Therefore, Venerable Ajahn Sao taught that once
the mantra has brought the mind to a sufficient level of
concentration, the meditator should further develop the reflection on
asubha kammatthana (meditation on the unattractiveness of the
body). This is Tan Ajahn Sao's second level of exhortation.
When contemplating the
meditation on unattractiveness, we take the objects or parts of the
body as our object of attention. Ajahn Sao recommended beginning the
practice with these five meditations: hair of the head, hair of the
body, nails, teeth, and skin. When a monk or novice ordains, his
preceptor explains these five objects of meditation forthwith. In the
Pali language this is called tacapancaka kammattha na.
The preceptor, right in the ordination ceremony itself, teaches the
initiate that these five parts of the body are not beautiful but
unattractive and unclean. Because of this, the owner of these things
must constantly look after and take care of them to prevent them from
becoming foul and ugly. If we disregard the care of the body it
becomes dirty, foul-smelling and unattractive. Why are newly ordained
monks and novices taught to see these things in this way? The
Buddha taught in this way in order to open the mind to the truth
regarding these parts of the body and the nature of the body itself.
If we carefully look
at the parts of the body we will come to see that the hair of
the head, the hair of the body, the nail, teeth and skin are all
symbols which designate beauty or non-beauty. Beauty closes our eyes
and ears to further consideration, we don't see the true condition.
We don't see the truth hidden within the body. Therefore, the Buddha
presented these five parts as the first meditation objects.
These five parts of
the body should be humbly contemplated as unattractive, that is,
seeing that these parts of the body are unattractive, repulsive and
unclean. Even when our bodies still have life within them, they are
filthy and unattractive. When life is no more and the body becomes a
corpse, the stench it produces will thunder home this fact. We
are urged to consider this fact over and over again until the heart
enters samadhi. A nimitta of one or more of these five
parts of the body arises, and you will see them as foul and
unattractive. This technique can be a skilful means for uprooting
lust and preventing it from overwhelming the mind. The Buddhist monk
can take this excellent opportunity to practise in a way in which he
can see the truth of things so that he can be cool and happy within
the Dhamma-Vinaya. In practising in this skilful manner we are
following the advice and guidance of a great meditation master, Tan
Now we come to the
last aspect of his teaching. If the meditator comes to recognize
through the practice of asubha kammatthana that the body is
unclean and unattractive, and has become proficient in his
practice, the following step is required to progress further to
vipassana, or insight practice. Venerable Ajahn Sao would
recommend that we practise analysing the entire body into 4
components: Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire. Hair of the head, hair of
the body, teeth, skin, nails, bones, etc. all have the predominant
characteristic of the hardness, which is characteristic of earth. Why
should hair be regarded as the earth element? Because when the hair
decomposes it must change into earth. The meditator practises to see
that all these aspects of the body are actually earth element, and
continues to practise until a nimitta of this appears. This is
the realization which goes deeper than just intellectual or surface
The next element is
water. This contains pus, sweat, blood, spittle, mucous, urine, and
whatever other parts of the body having the characteristic of liquid.
Parts of the body which are imbued with the characteristic of water,
we call the water element. We are told to contemplate this and see
that these things are really just water.
The warmth or heat
which is in the body is called the heat element (fire element).
The wind element is
the wind in the upper and lower parts of the body. The in and out
breath is an example of the wind element.
We are told to
investigate the body as a thing which is composed of the four
elements: earth, water, air and fire. There are only elements, not a
person or a self. This body is merely a heap of four elements coupled
with the impersonal birth consciousness (patisandhi vinnana).
We grasp onto the perception that there is a self. The perception of
self is defilement, manifesting as craving, conceit, views and
clinging. When you see this body as only four elements, not a person,
a self, a human being, or a him, her, we or us, the meditator
realizes the perception of anatta or non-self. That is, he or
she will come to see that this body is non-self. By reflecting on the
four elements, the meditator will come to see in a deep and profound
way the truth of anatta. A nimitta of not self may
arise. The meditator will see deeply that this body is truly the
four elements: earth, water, air, and fire. The heart will realize
intuitively that there is nothing in the body other than these four
elements. When the mind realizes that there is truly no self, no
person whatsoever, how can it not progress in the development of
vipassana? I would like to request that you all consider
this entire body as nothing more than the four elements. In
practising in this way you will be able to intuitively realize that
this body is not self. This truth accords with the Pali words of the
Buddha "Sabbe Dhamma Anatta" - all things are not self.
If you are truly
sincere in your practice, don't go and suspect these methods of
practice. What I have related to you today is the teaching of
Venerable Ajahn Sao. What the great masters teach is always
absolutely correct, but of course, it is up to you to realize the
truth for yourself.
Nuggets of a Teaching
1 Meditation, the natural way
The teaching of the
Buddha is a teaching for intelligent people. It isn't a teaching for
someone to believe in blindly without reason. The Buddhist religion
teaches people to learn about nature and the laws of nature. If
someone asked me, "What is Dhamma?" I would answer, "Dhamma is
nature". "What is nature?" To this I answer, "it is our body and
The samadhi of
the Buddha is the samadhi which notes what is going on in
everyday life. This is more important than sitting in formal
practice. The teaching of samadhi which must be taught is the
samadhi that is concerned with the things which are closest to
us. You don't need to know about or be interested in the things which
people boast about. You need to know thoroughly your own body and
mind. As for the body, you need to know the coarse nature of the body
as it must always be in a state of constant change and movement, be it
standing, walking, sitting, lying down, eating, drinking, doing,
talking and thinking.
This is the way of
body and mind.
2 Samadhi - What is it for?
An important problem
with the practice of samadhi is the confusion people
have about the fundamental principles.
One kind of samadhi
is the samadhi we practise in order to attain a still,
A second kind of
samadhi is the samadhi we practise in order to develop
mindfulness and clear comprehension, so that we are aware of whatever
is going on in each and every moment.
Some kinds of
samadhi are of the kind which we practise in order to attain
special realizations. For instance, we may practise to see
extraordinary things like insights into the past and into the future.
By insights into the past I mean recollection of past lives. By
insight into the future I mean insight into one's future destination.
This is the kind of practice aimed at special insights.
Now if we really
contemplate these matters with integrity we will see that the past is
already gone, and the future has not yet arrived. Therefore should we
not be more interested in the present moment?
Some teachers teach
that meditation will enable you to see this and that, but these
special effects are useless. You must come to see your own mind.
Don't get caught up in
the concept that in practising samadhi you will see the hell
realms or the heaven realms or all sorts of miraculous things. The
things you see in this practice are not different from the images in
your dreams. What we must really come to know is our own body and
3 The universal
principle for practising samadhi
meditation for the development of samadhi, mindfulness and
wisdom, there is a principle which meditators should adhere to: train
the mind to sustain awareness on a meditation object, train
mindfulness to have an object of recollection. Whatever the mind
experiences, let mindfulness register it at that moment.
sitting or lying down, eating, drinking, doing, talking and
thinking ... let mindfulness be aware at all times. No matter what
anybody should do, just have mindfulness. When you are going to
sleep, let the mind think as it will, but follow the thoughts with
awareness until you drop off to sleep. This is a universal principle
for practising samadhi.
If anyone asks how to practise meditation,
the answer is quite easy. Practising meditation is to give the mind
an object of awareness, to give mindfulness an object of
recollection. This comes down to whenever your mind thinks of
anything, let there be mindfulness at all times, no matter what arises
in any mind moment.
If you practise in
this way, you will feel as if you are practising meditation
is not just sitting with the eyes closed
If we regard
samadhi, as the state of concentration which can only arise when
we are sitting with our eyes closed we are still clinging to the
common perception of samadhi. But we should know that the
state of samadhi is a quality of mindfulness and awareness at
all times, no matter whether we are standing, walking, sitting, lying
down, eating, drinking, doing, talking or thinking. That is, the
matters and modes of daily life. In this way we will have a very
broad understanding, and we will come to see that meditation practice
is not just sitting with the eyes closed and concentrating on a
meditation object. When we leave the meditation session, we continue
to have mindfulness while standing, walking, sitting, lying down,
eating, drinking, doing, talking or thinking, even though we may not
be sitting meditation as it is usually taught. This is because we are
developing mindfulness at all times. When we lie down to go to sleep,
all people, be they intellectuals or simple workers, have thinking.
At this time, as we are. going to sleep, let the mind think, but have
mindfulness, follow the thoughts until you drop off to sleep.
If we practise in this
manner continually, day in and day out, we can attain a remarkably
strong level of samadhi.
If we understand
samadhi in this way, samadhi is not an obstacle to everyday
life, to work and progress in society. But if we think that
samadhi is simply concentrating on a single object and abiding in
stillness, everything will seem like an obstacle and everybody we meet
will get in the way of our practice. This is the samadhi of
5 Practising in
the right way is not running away from the world of problems
meditator who is practising correctly will respond properly to the
world. For instance, suppose you have a family. As a meditator, you
should love your family more and more. As your love increases, it
should become transformed from the common kind of love into goodwill
We have to brave the
confusion of the work place, but whereas before we felt entangled in
the confusion, now, through our samadhi practice, we are able
to work without any confusion. The mind will change radically, in a
way which can automatically rectify any unexpected problems that
arise. Whenever a problem arises, it's as if we have a manual to
refer to and the mind instantly accesses the answer. This is the
samadhi which is involved with everyday life.
Any kind of samadhi
which takes no interest in everyday life and seeks only to escape
to somewhere far away from the world causes the world to degenerate
further, and is not nutriment for enlightenment; the Path, Fruit and
6 Everyone has
already practised samadhi
Everything that we do
is only accomplished through the power of
how could one complete a degree?
how could one teach students?
how could one complete big work projects?
how could one run a country?
(Actually) we have
been practising samadhi way back from the time we were nursed
and our parents taught us how to eat, to sleep, to read and to
recognize people. The beginning of our samadhi practice
started way back then.
When we go on to
higher education we begin learning to practise samadhi in
earnest. However, when we meet highly regarded meditation monks and
they ask us, "Have you practised samadhi?" people tend to think
that they haven't yet practised it since we have not yet done so
formally. This comes about because we think of samadhi in a
limited way that it is only sitting with the eyes closed that
meditation can be practised.
7 You don't have
to live in a temple to practise samadhi
Anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to stay in a Wat (meditation
centre) and practise formal meditation, sitting still with the eyes
closed as it is usually taught, can practise in this way. Take
standing, walking, sitting, lying down, eating, drinking, doing,
talking and thinking as your meditation objects and thereby establish
Everyone who has
already practised samadhi naturally from since they were
toddlers just beginning to know the world. Now we are going to train
anew, in other words, reinforce our old training.
misunderstand me. Standing, walking, sitting, lying down, eating,
drinking, doing, talking and thinking are objects for mindfulness. We
perform these tasks with mindfulness, knowing them thoroughly at all
times. When lying down to go to sleep, note what the mind is
thinking. Let it go on thinking but have mindfulness, follow the
thinking until you fall sound asleep. Practise continuously on a
daily basis and you will find yourself, unexpectedly, maintaining
While working, use
your concentrated mindfulness to be fully aware of the work. When you
are engaged in thought, include mindfulness with the thinking. Take
working and thinking as your meditation objects. If the mind is being
aware of sense objects as they come and go with mindfulness, the mind
is naturally inclined towards calmness. Joy (piti), ease (sukha)
and one-pointedness (ekaggata) can arise at any time if the
meditator practises earnestly.
8 A business
person who practised samadhi while working
A lady came to see the
Master and asked, "Venerable Father, I want to practise meditation but
don't know how to."
The Master answered,
"If you don't know how to sit, you don't have to sit. Just train
mindfulness to be with your every action, standing, walking, sitting,
lying down, eating, drinking, doing, talking and thinking. " If we
develop samadhi in this way, we will come to feel that
everything we do, say and think is part of meditation practice,
samadhi will harmonize with your daily life.
Look at the kinds of
work which used to bring on confusion. After samadhi is
stabilized you won't be caught in that entanglement again. The mind
will be unconfused and able to solve problems. Sometimes when we are
stuck, the mind will collect into one pointedness and the answer to
the problem will spontaneously arise, even the nasty problems which
concern work can be resolved in this way.
We tend to attach to
the idea that we shouldn't think about the world, but only about the
Dhamma, but in fact the things of the world are objects of awareness
for the mind. Because the mind is that which knows the truth of the
world, it must use the world as a stepping stone to go beyond the
The world is an object
of awareness for the mind. Our body and mind are the world. All the
situations and experiences we come into contact with are the everyday
activities of the world. When we develop mindfulness and are aware of
the world, we detach from it. Even though we live in the world, we
are only lightly involved. We see all our duties as simply duties.
We will be aware of our duties and take responsibility for them,
carrying them out in the most direct way.
9 Practising meditation as a novice
There was once an
Ajahn named Ajahn Soowan Sucinno who was a senior disciple of Ajahn
Mun. One day he noticed me carrying a book and reciting Pali
scriptures while I was walking to and from on my walking path.
He said to me, "Novice, if you are studying just study. If you are
going to practise walking meditation, then just do that. You need two
hands to carry a fish."
We can apply this
principle when we fix our attention on a kasina
Fire kasina -
fixing the attention on fire
Earth kasina -
fixing the attention on earth
Air kasina -
fixing the attention on air
Space kasina -
fixing the attention on space
kasina - fixing the attention on consciousness
Our body contains all
these teachers: earth, water, air, fire, space and consciousness. We
can take these kasinas as objects of meditation. They can be
both objects of awareness and places to establish mindfulness.
10 Studying is Dhamma Practice. An student can
These days you
students are spending long hours studying. The important question for
you is: How can samadhi and mindfulness be of help in your
I will instruct you on
how to practise samadhi right in your classrooms. Suppose
that, at this moment, I am your teacher in your classroom. Look
intently straight at me. Be interested and observe everything I do.
When I raise my hand, you know, when I write, you know. Whatever I
say, you determine to hear. If you can observe even the slightest
movements, sounds, and every blink that occurs, all the better. When
you enter the room, gaze straight at the teacher, Put all your
attention on him or her. Donít give your attention to anything else
beside the teacher. This is all there is to practise samadhi
in the classroom. If you can remember this technique, you can begin
practising samadhi right from the time you are in kindergarten.
In the beginning it
may be difficult for you to control your line of vision and to
maintain your attention directly on the teacher, but you must try.
Train yourself until you become proficient with this technique and you
will find that it will take hold of you and happen on its own. Later
on, without even trying, as soon as you see someone pass by, your
attention will focus on that image. As soon as your teacher enters
the room your attention fixes onto him. Think carefully and deeply on
this question; if you concentrate your attention solely on the
teacher, will you still be able to take in the lessons?
After you become adept
in this skilful technique you will find that even while your line of
vision is on the teacher, your attention is turned inward toward your
heart. You are concentrated toward yourself in a profound way. At
this point in your development, regardless of what the teacher is
saying, as soon as he finishes his sentence your mind will already
have moved in advance and will recognize what he is going to say
next. So that, when taking an examination, as soon as you finish
reading the question, the answer will pop into your mind and you will
This is the samadhi
technique which has worked well for me.
11 What is the
benefit of samadhi while studying?
Sometime ago there was
a girl who I sponsored to go to university who was reluctant to
continue her studies because she thought her brain wasn't good
enough. I urged her to enter and she agreed. I advised her that she
should practise meditation when studying in the university. She
said, "If I have to practise meditation, when will I find the time
seems to be a problem here. I explained that it is possible to
practise samadhi in the university without it
interfering with one's studies. I said, "When you are in the
classroom, simply concentrate your mind so that mindfulness is
present, that is, make the mind aware. Wherever attention is needed,
fix the mind right there. For instance, when the professor enters the
room, bring your complete attention to the professor. Do not let the
mind wander. "
She graduated after
only 4 years. At first, she thought she would probably need at least
6 years to earn her degree. But, unexpectedly, everything changed.
Her initial feelings that she wasn't clever enough for university
changed around until she eventually felt that her mind was quite a
good one. She was quite capable of practising samadhi and
where there is samadhi there is mindfulness and clear
comprehension (sati sampajanna) which support and encourage
awareness in the present moment.
If a student tries to
practise samadhi in this manner, several benefits will result.
Feelings of respect, appreciation and gratitude will arise towards the
teacher. These feelings will go deep into the heart and a radical
change will occur. No longer will one harbour negative feelings for
the teacher. Instead, one will hold him or her in high regard. In
the end, you will find that your grades are much better than you
thought they would be!
12 The intuitive
Not long ago one of
the leading members of the business community took a break from his
work so that he could come up here from Bangkok. As soon as he
arrived he came to me and said, "I have come here to ask you to accept
me as your meditation disciple. It is said that you teach meditation
in a clear and thorough manner. "
I asked him, "Sir,
what is your occupation?"
He answered, "I invent
things which can be profitably marketed.
"Tell me, while
thinking about an invention or creation, what happens?"
He then went on to
relate an actual example of the process: "Suppose I want to create a
doll. I have to think of how the face should look, how the hair style
should be and how the shape of the body should be designed. I then
consider these features many, many times. I consider this image
backwards and forwards and from all sides until I become drowsy from
thought. This is followed by a feeling of dropping off to sleep.
During that period which is sleep-like, the mind becomes bright and I
can see clearly a model of the very doll I would like to design
floating in the air right before me.
"Then I continue to
consider this doll until I am certain it is the doll I want. After
that happens, this state of mind withdraws and I awaken from the
daydream. At the time the mind entered into this sleep I would dream
the image of a doll hanging suspended in the air. So I would go ahead
and construct this doll from the memory of the one in my dream.
Afterwards, the dolls were manufactured, marketed, and shipped off to
the market where it was a hit with the customers.
I responded to this,
"Sir, you are already proficient at practising samadhi. You
don't have to come here to find a competent meditation monk. You can
just continue developing samadhi by creating dolls. That is
the very samadhi practice you want to learn from me.
"Now, if you want to
enhance your samadhi, you should vow to uphold the 5 precepts.
Then your samadhi will incline towards abandoning defilement,
attaining virtue and making the heart pure and clean. "
samadhi with a Meditation Word
To practise samadhi
with a meditation word means that we recite a meditation word of
one sort or another such as Bud-dho, rising-failing, or
samma araham. The meditator keeps on reciting the meditation
mantra until the heart is at peace. As they practise, the factors
which compose jhana are developed. These factors are:
vitakka (initial application), vicara (sustained
application), piti (rapture or delight), sukha
(happiness), ekaggata (one pointedness of mind). As these
factors are developed the sense of the body disappears (for the mind
is being made calm and tranquil) leaving only the still, bright and
peaceful heart. There is no thinking going on.
When the heart
withdraws from samadhi so that body sensation and
thinking returns, one should immediately apply mindfulness (sati)
in order to be fully aware of conditions as they are in the moment.
Don't rush off from your sitting place. If you practise in this way,
wisdom will arise quickly.
If, in this period,
you refrain from rushing off, the samadhi will continue to
examine the objects of mind as they arise. That is, we can examine
the sensations in the mind without thinking about anything at all.
Let the heart freely think by itself and do not impose intentional
After withdrawing from
samadhi thoughts begin to arise and the mind can see these
thoughts precisely. If the mind is thinking continuously, be aware of
it continuously. Wherever thinking wants to go, let it go freely.
When there is thinking, be aware of the thinking as it goes on and on
and on. If you feel yourself becoming slightly drowsy, you will
experience the body becoming light, the heart-mind-citta
becoming light. The body becomes peaceful and the citta
becomes peaceful. The body is light and peacefully abiding in a state
of deep rest (kayaviveka). The mind is slight and peaceful for
it too, is in a state of deep rest (cittaviveka).
In this state of
peace, the mind has returned to its original state. In that moment,
it is in the state of original existence (upadhiviveka).
14 Reciting Bud-dho
and being aware of the heart citta function under the same
Keep on reciting the
word Bud-dho until the mind fixes onto it and then leave
it stay that way. If the mind drops Bud-dho to think
about other things, let it think as it will but be aware of the
thinking with focused mindfulness (sati).
which you have been reciting inwardly has several benefits:
1) It functions as a
means of recollecting the Great Teacher, the Buddha.
2) It functions as a
means of initiating the mind to think on its own.
As soon as the mind
drops bud-dho, it switches onto other thinking. Here it is
manifesting its ability to find bait to feed itself. We don't have to
worry about finding objects to feed the mind. Just allow it to think
according to its nature. Our duty is to be fully aware with
This is the way to
bring samadhi into your daily life.
15 If the mind wants to think, don't suppress it.
If you have developed
the mantra Bud-dho, Bud-dho to the point where
the mind reaches a refined and tranquil state of samadhi,
the sense of body will disappear. Then you can take this state
further so as to realize the full benefits of practice (Path, Fruits
and Nibbana). After practising to this level the mind will not
want to enter calm and tranquility any longer. It will just hover
about before it shifts into standing, walking, sitting, lying down,
eating, drinking, doing, saying, thinking. This is something I have
experience for myself.
In trying to get still
as before, we find the mind now rebels. It doesn't want to incline to
stillness. The more we force it, the more it struggles. Due to the
collision between these forces we experience a sense of heat and
flushing and end up with a headache. Finally, the idea occurs: Mind,
you can think as you like, be my guest. I will simply remain aware of
you. Let the mind think as it will. Sati has the reins on
awareness. Now and again, the thinking/thinker does not stop, but the
mindfulness keeps track. Mindfulness relentlessly pursues the
After enough thinking
like this, there arises a feeling of pleasure which feels as if the
mind is moving further and further away. Mental solitude then
occurs. The body is light, the mind is light. The body is tranquil
as is the mind. In time, the speed of thinking is accelerating and
mindfulness cannot catch up with it. Piti (delight, rapture)
and sukha (happiness) are produced. Then, there is oneness in
which mind is aware of mind. All thinking which occurs within the
mind is just thinking for the sake of thinking. As thinking arises,
it is let go of. Mind does not hold onto any thoughts which cause
trouble or make problems for us.
And, finally, when
thoughts are cut off, the mind reverts toward the tranquility and
peacefulness you have known.
Thus we learned that,
"Oh, The nature of mind is like this." Morality cultivates samadhi,
which cultivates wisdom, which cultivates the mind. Any thinking
which sati is fully aware of is thinking with wisdom (panna
in samadhi). This is the characteristic of the mind-citta
progressing and functioning with
At the same time,
should we regard this in terms of Jhana factors, thinking is
vitakka ; sati which fully knows at the same time as thinking is
vicara. When the mind has vitakka and vicara,
piti and sukha will occur without any problem. Here when
rapture arises the mind will return to its original state. Awareness
is fixed on the arising and ceasing (of thought) in every moment and
there is just oneness. If the mind is functioning in this manner, we
call it a mind which is functioning at the level of first jhana.
That is the first level of jhana which is composed of
vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha and ekaggata.
16 Regardless of
whether the mind is wandering about or is bringing up wisdom, let it
The thinking which the
mind brings up by itself is vitakka (the initial application of
thought). When sati is fully aware, the thinking which arises
is vicara, (the applied application of thought).
Thinking is an object
to be known by the mind, as well as that which is to be recollected by
mindfulness. When sati sampajanna improves we will recognize
1. Thinking is food
for the mind
2. Thinking is
exercise for the mind
3. Thinking is an
activity which releases and relaxes tension.
4. Thinking is the
reflection which tells us what is. It informs us of the implications
of suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anatta).
This thinking will
provoke and arouse good moods and sour moods. Here we see both
ittharammana (pleasant objects) and anittharammana
(unpleasant objects) which build up into kilesa (defilement).
When the mind has both
pleasant and unpleasant aspects mixing together, it will be somewhat
happy and somewhat unhappy.
Finally it realizes
Dukkha Ariyasacca (The Noble Truth of Suffering).
Straight Path for Realizing the Enlightenment of The Buddha
principle that the Buddha taught is, essentially, the basic practice
in which the mind knows what is what (i.e. the mind has an object to
know; mindfulness has an object to recollect). The Buddha himself
practised taking the breath (anapanasati) as the thing which
the mind is to know. Then, taking this state of mindfulness, he made
it take its stance right at the breathing. He made his mindfulness
aware of the in-breathing and the out-breathing. His mindfulness knew
the breathing when it was coarse and when it was refined and knew
about any changes that occurred.
In any mind-moments
when he was not observing the breathing he would take note of the
objects which were arising within his mind. His knowing came through
the concentration of sati. Sati was fully aware and
attentively watching sense objects and feelings as they arise and
faded away within the mind. When his mindfulness and clear
comprehension were vigorous, they could nurture and support the mind
to actually see the changes in feelings which occur naturally. That
is, impermanence, conflict and non-self (the conditions inherent in
Nature which flow along with Nature).
Upon realizing that
feelings are impermanent, infected with suffering, and not-self, he
understood that any feeling to which there was clinging would provoke
a pleasant or unpleasant feeling which caused suffering. When
suffering presented itself in his mind he was able to pin-point the
Noble Truth of Suffering. This was real, unavoidable suffering. He
began tracing back for the root cause. This suffering, where does it
come from? What is its cause? This suffering arose from tanha
(craving). Tanha arose from where? It arose from liking
(pleasant) and disliking (unpleasant). Liking is kammatanha
(craving for sensual pleasure). Disliking is vibhavatanha
(craving for annihilation). Clinging to both pleasure and displeasure
is bhavatanha(craving for existence, rebirth, and sensual
pleasure). When there is bhavatanha suffering will occur.
This is the providence
of the Dhamma which the Buddha was searching for and met in the Four
Noble Truths and thereby, became a Tathagata, One gone to