FOREWORD

(First Edition)

As most of us know, the three trainings of morality, concentration, and wisdom, are the three stages of Buddhist practice. Through the practice of the three trainings, an ordinary person can attain supreme Nibbāna [6] and become a Noble One.

The Visuddhi·Magga compiled by the Venerable Buddhaghosa is an exposition of the three trainings. It is based on the Pali texts and commentaries, and explains the seven stages of purification, and sixteen vipassanā knowledges. But how to attain them has been a difficult question for all Buddhists over many generations. For this, we are fortunate to have the Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw of Pa-Auk Forest Monastery. His teaching is the same as, indeed it is in much more detail than, what is described in the Visuddhi·Magga. Based on the very same sources, the Pali texts, commentaries and the Visuddhi·Magga itself, the Sayadaw teaches yogis, step by step, how to attain those stages of purification, and vipassanā knowledges.

The goal of the teaching at Pa-Auk Forest Monastery is, in accordance with the ancient texts, to realize Nibbāna in this very life. To achieve that end, yogis must comprehend all mentality-materiality, also known as the five aggregates, as impermanence, suffering, and non-self. As for the objects of vipassanā meditation, they are not only the internal and external five aggregates, but also the five aggregates of past, future and present, gross and subtle, superior and inferior, far and near. Only after comprehending all of them penetratively as impermanence, suffering, and non-self, can yogis attain the Noble Paths and Fruitions, and thereby gradually eradicate or reduce various defilements. After having seen Nibbana for the first time, yogis can see clearly that they have attained the First Path and Fruition; what defilements they have abandoned; and what defilements they still need to abandon.[7] Then they continue to practise vipassanā to attain the higher Paths and Fruitions up to Arahantship, whereby they are no longer subject to rebirth, and will attain final Nibbāna after death.

It is very fortunate that I still have the opportunity, in this age wherein Buddhism is degenerating, to practise the original system of Buddhist meditation. It makes me feel as if I were back in the Buddha’s time. For this I am very grateful to the Sayadaw, who spent many years practising

in the forest, and studying the Pali texts and commentaries to rediscover this teaching. It is out of compassion that he sacrifices much of his time to teach meditation for the benefit of humankind. His teaching is markedly clear and detailed throughout the seven stages of purification. This is a rare teaching and hard to come by, not only in Taiwan, but in the whole world.

From April to June, the Sayadaw conducted a two-month meditation retreat for the first time in Taiwan, at Yi-Tung Temple. Among many Taiwanese, his teaching will definitely arouse interest in the original meditation. It is also a great help to fill in some gaps in Mahāyāna meditation.

Hopefully the reader will, after reading the profound talks, and answers to questions, given in Taiwan by the Sayadaw, be able to have a deeper understanding of the Buddha’s teachings.

May the true Dhamma endure long. May the publication of this book help provide a refuge for those who wish to know what the rounds of birth & death are, and who wish to attain liberation. May this book guide more people onto the right path to liberation, so that they can realize for themselves: ‘All formations are impermanent, all dhammas are non-self, and Nibbāna is utterly peaceful.’ To see that is certainly not something impracticable, but something absolutely practical. Only one who sees it knows it, and only one who experiences it can enjoy the bliss of the Dhamma.

A Taiwanese Bhikshuni

[6] For untranslated Pali, see Appendix 1, p.283.

[7] For details on how the yogi sees this, see further p.226.

[8] Yogi at said retreat, who then went to Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery to continue.


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