INTRODUCTION [9]

THE BUDDHA’S DISPENSATION

On one occasion, the Blessed One was dwelling among Vajjians at Koṭigāma. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus [10] thus: [11]

It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding (an·anubodhā) and not penetrating (a·ppaṭivedhā) the Four Noble Truths (Catunna Ariya·Saccāna) that you and I have for a long time wandered the round of rebirth. What four?

(1) It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding and not penetrating the Noble Truth of Suffering (Dukkhassa Ariya·Saccassa) that you and I have for a long time wandered the round of rebirth.

(2) It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding and not penetrating the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Dukkha·Samudayassa Ariya·Saccassa) that you and I have for a long time wandered the round of rebirth.

(3) It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding and not penetrating the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha·Nirodhassa Ariya·Saccassa) that you and I have for a long time wandered the round of rebirth.

(4) It is, bhikkhus, because of not understanding and not penetrating the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha·Nirodha·Gāminiya Paṭipadāya Ariya·Saccassa) that you and I have for a long time wandered the round of rebirth.

The Four Noble Truths are thus the foundations of The Buddha’s Teaching, His Dispensation. He then explains:

(1) The Noble Truth of Suffering, bhikkhus, has been understood and penetrated.

(2) The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering has been understood and penetrated.

(3) The Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering has been understood and penetrated.

(4) The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering has been understood and penetrated.

Craving for existence has been cut off; the tendency to existence has been destroyed; now there is no more renewed existence.

Let us then see how the Four Noble Truths are related to each other.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE FULLY REALIZED

The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths for us to realize the Third Noble Truth, Nibbāna, which is to put a complete end to rebirth and therefore suffering. But that is not possible without the right conditions.

In the ‘Kūṭāgāra’ sutta (‘The Peaked-House Sutta’), The Buddha explains first the conditions that make it impossible to put a complete end to suffering:[12]

Indeed, bhikkhus, if anyone said: ‘Without having built the lower structure of a peaked house, I shall erect the upper structure’, such a thing is impossible. So too, if anyone said:

(1) ‘Without penetrating the Noble Truth of Suffering as it really is;

(2) ‘without penetrating the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering as it really is;

(3) ‘without penetrating the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering as it really is;

(4) ‘without penetrating the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering as it really is,

‘I shall put a complete end to suffering’, such a thing is impossible.

This means that we cannot put a complete end to suffering (we cannot attain the Third Noble Truth, Nibbāna) unless we have first fully realized the First Noble Truth (suffering (dukkha)), and fully realized the Second Noble Truth (the origin of suffering (samudaya)). Only then are we able to realize also the supramundane Fourth Noble Truth, the Supramundane Noble Eightfold Path..

The only way to attain these realizations is to first practise the mundane Fourth Noble Truth, the mundane path truth (lokiya magga·sacca), which is the mundane Noble Eightfold Path, the threefold training:

1) Morality (sīla)

2) Concentration (samādhi)

3) Wisdom (paññā) [13]

For bhikkhus, morality is Pāṭimokkha restraint, and for laypeople, it is the eight or five precepts.

When we are established in morality, we can develop access-concentration and absorption concentration (appanā·samādhi), which is jhāna (jhāna), and can then proceed to develop wisdom, which is vipassanā meditation. Vipassanā meditation is nothing other than to realize the impermanent, suffering, and non-self nature of the Noble Truth of Suffering and Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. Only when we practise vipassanā well and thoroughly, and fully realize these two Noble Truths, are we able to realize the supramundane Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path associated with supramundane Path Truth (Lokuttarā Magga·Sacca): the Path (Magga) of Stream-Entry (Sot·Āpatti), Once-Return (Sakad·Āgāmi), Non-Return (An·Āgāmi), and Arahantship.

In summary: the aim of the Fourth Noble Truth (the Eightfold Noble Path) is to realize the Third Noble Truth (Nibbāna), which is achieved only by fully realizing the First and Second Noble Truths (Suffering and the Origin of Suffering).

THE FIRST AND SECOND NOBLE TRUTH

But what is the First Noble Truth, the Noble Truth of Suffering? In the ‘Dhamma·Cakka·Ppavattana’ sutta (‘The Dhamma-Wheel Setting-in-Motion Sutta’), the Buddha explains:[14]

Now this, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of Suffering: birth is suffering; ageing is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering; being united with the unloved is suffering; being separated from the loved is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering: in brief, the five clinging-aggregates (pañc·upādāna·kkhandhā) are suffering.

When The Buddha teaches the Noble Truth of Suffering, He teaches the five aggregates; He teaches us to know and see the five aggregates. Our human world is the five-constituent existence (pañca·vokāra·bhava) (the world of five aggregates), and unless we know and see the five aggregates, we cannot realize The Buddha’s Teaching. This He explains in the ‘Puppha’ sutta (‘The Flower Sutta’):[15]

And what is the ultimate reality of the world (loke loka·dhammo) that the Tathāgata has realized with perfect and complete knowledge?

(1) Materiality (rūpa)… (2) Feeling (vedanā).… (3) Perception (saññā).… (4) Mental formations (saṅkhārā)[16].… (5) Consciousness (viññāṇa), bhikkhus, is the ultimate reality of the world that the Tathāgata has realized with perfect and complete knowledge.

Having done so, He explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it and elucidates it. When it is thus explained, taught, disclosed, analysed and elucidated by the Tathāgata, if there is someone who does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish common person, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?

The realities of the world that The Buddha is here explaining are the five aggregates, which are the Noble Truth of Suffering and the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. And in the Mahā·Sati·Paṭhāna’ sutta (‘The Great Mindfulness-Foundation Sutta’) He explains:[17]

And how, bhikkhus, in short, are the five clinging-aggregates (pañc·upādāna-·kkhandhā) suffering? They are as follows:

(1) the materiality clinging-aggregate (rūp·upādāna·kkhandho);

(2) the feeling clinging-aggregate (vedan·upādāna·kkhandho);

(3) the perception clinging-aggregate (saññ·upādāna·kkhandho);

(4) the mental formations clinging-aggregate (saṅkhār·upādāna·kkhandho);

(5) the consciousness clinging-aggregate (viññāṇ·upādāna·kkhandho).

And in, for example, the ‘Khandha’ sutta (‘The Aggregates Sutta’), He explains that the aggregates are aggregates of eleven categories:[18]

And what, bhikkhus, are the five clinging-aggregates? Whatever kind of materiality (rūpa) there is, whether

(1-3) past, future, or present (atīt·ānāgata·paccuppannaṁ);

(4-5) internal or external (ajjhattaṁ vā bahiddhā vā);

(6-7) gross or subtle (oḷārikaṁ vā sukhumaṁ vā);

(8-9) inferior or superior (hīnaṁ vā paṇītaṁ vā);

(10-11) far or near (yaṁ dūre santike vā)

that is tainted (sāsava), that can be clung to (upādāniya), it is called the materiality clinging-aggregate. Whatever kind of feeling.… perception.… mental formations.…Whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near that is tainted, that can be clung to, it is called the consciousness clinging-aggregate.

These, bhikkhus, are called the five clinging-aggregates.

These five clinging-aggregates are the First Noble Truth, the Noble Truth of Suffering, and, as The Buddha explains, they comprise each an aggregate of eleven categories. This means that to know and see the five aggregates is to know and see these eleven categories of materiality, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousness.

The first of the five clinging-aggregates (materiality) is also called just materiality (rūpa), and the remaining four clinging-aggregates (feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness are together also called just mentality (nāma). Thus, the five clinging-aggregates are also called just mentality-materiality (nāma·rūpa). [19]

To know and see mentality-materiality as they really are, we need also to know and see how they are connected, that is, we need to know and see that in the five-constituent existence (pañca·vokāra·bhava), mentality depends on materiality. The five-constituent existence is the world of five aggregates, and it is explained by The Buddha in the ‘Loka’ sutta (‘The World Sutta’). Here, He explains mentality-materiality as eighteen elements (dhātu): the six sense doors, six sense objects and six types of consciousness (viññāṇa). He says:[20]

And what, bhikkhus, is the origin of the world?

(1) Dependent on the eye and colour (cakkhuñ·ca paṭicca rūpe[21] ca), there arises eye consciousness (cakkhu·viññāṇa ). With the meeting of the three there is contact (phasso).

• Because of contact, feeling (vedanā) [comes to be];

• because of feeling, craving (taṇhā);

• because of craving, clinging (upādāna);

• because of clinging, existence (bhava);

• because of existence, birth (jāti);

• because of birth, ageing & death (jarā·maraṇa), sorrow (soka), lamentation (parideva), suffering (dukkha), grief (domanassa) and despair (upāyāsa) come to be.

(2) Dependent on the ear and sounds, ear consciousness arises.…

(3) Dependent on the nose and odours, nose consciousness arises.…

(4) Dependent on the tongue and flavours, tongue consciousness arises.…

(5) Dependent on the body and tangibles, body consciousness arises.

(6) Dependent on the mind and dhammas,[22] mind consciousness arises.…

To know and see mentality-materiality we need thus to know and see:

1) The sense doors

2) The objects that strike upon the sense doors

3) The thereby arisen consciousnesses and associated mental factors.

As explained by The Buddha, there are six sense doors:

1) Eye door. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(cakkhu·dvāra)

2) Ear door.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(sota·dvāra)

3) Nose door. . . . . . . . . . . . . .(kāya·dvāra)

4) Tongue door. . . . . . . . . . . .(jivhā·dvāra)

5) Body door . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(ghāna·dvāra)

6) Mind door (bhavaṅga). . . . . .(mano·dvāra)

The first five sense doors are  materiality (rūpa), and are therefore the same as the five sense bases (vatthu),[23] but the sixth sense door, the mind door (bhavaṅga), is mentality (nāma). It depends on the sixth material base, the heart base (hadaya·vatthu).

The five material doors take only their respective material object, whereas the mental mind door takes those five objects and its own objects. This is explained by The Buddha in the ‘Uṇṇābha·Brāhmaṇa’ sutta, although the term He uses is faculty (indriya):[24]

These five faculties (indriya), Brahmin, have each a different sphere (visaya), a different field (gocara), and do not experience (paccanubhontānaṁ) each others field. What five?

(1) The eye faculty. . . .(cakkh·undriyaṁ),

(2) The ear faculty. . . . (sot·indriyaṁ),

(3) The nose faculty. . . (ghān·indriyaṁ),

(4) The tongue faculty. (jivh·indriyaṁ),

(5) The body faculty. . . (kāy·indriyaṁ).

Now, Brahmin, these five faculties, having separate spheres and separate fields, not experiencing each other’s sphere and field, have the mind (mano) as their refuge (paṭisaraṇaṁ), and the mind experiences (paccanubhoti) their spheres and fields.

When the material objects strike upon their material sense door, they strike at the same time upon the mind door (bhavaṅga):[25] All other objects strike upon the mind door alone. The objects that strike upon the mind door alone include also those that are not mentality-materiality, that are not the world. We have thus six types of object.

1) Colour objects. . . . . .(rūp·ārammaṇa)

2) Sound objects. . . . . .(sadd·ārammaṇa)

3) Odour objects. . . . . .(gandh·ārammaa)

4) Flavour objects. . . . .(ras·ārammaṇa)

5) Touch objects[26]. . .(pho habb·ārammaṇa)

6) Dhamma objects. . . (dhamm·ārammaṇa)

Dhamma objects are all objects apart from the previous five material types of object: all other objects in the world, which can be cognized only by the mind. They comprise six types:

1) Five kinds of translucent materiality (pasāda·rūpa): the eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body translucency.[27] They are gross materiality (oḷārika-·rūpa).[28]

2) Sixteen kinds of subtle materiality (sukhuma·rūpa).[28]

3) Six kinds of consciousness element (viññṇa·dhātu) [29]

4) Fifty-two kinds of mental factor (cetasika) [30]

5) The Nibbāna element, the Unformed Element (Asaṅkhata·Dhātu)

6) The infinite number of concepts (paññatti): e.g. the concept of the breath, the kasiṇa object, and names for the ultimate realities, without which we cannot communicate.

As The Buddha explained, when one of the six sense doors comes together with its appropriate object, consciousness arises. We have thus six types of consciousness:

1) Eye consciousness. . .(cakkhu·viññāṇa)

2) Ear consciousness. . .(sota·viññāṇa)

3) Nose consciousness. .(ghāna·viññāṇa)

4) Tongue consciousness. .(jivhā·viññāṇa)

5) Body consciousness. . (kāya·viññāṇa)

6) Mind consciousness. . (mano·viññāṇa)

As The Buddha also explained to the Brahmin, when an object strikes upon one of the five material sense doors, it strikes also upon the mental sense door. When you have developed strong and powerful concentration, you will be able to see that the object is reflected in the mind door (bhavaṅga) as in a mirror.

Then will you also be able to see that the consciousnesses that arise in one of the material sense doors are very weak. They ‘just pick up’ the object (abhinipātamattā). The actual knowing of the object is done by a series of mind consciousnesses (mano·viññāṇa) that arise later.[31]

For example, when a material object such as colour strikes the materiality of the eye door, and strikes at the same time the mind door (the bhavaṅga), a mind consciousness arises followed by an eye consciousness: they do not ‘know’ the object; they do not know that it is colour. The object is known by mind consciousnesses that arise afterwards.

We may thus understand that to know mentality-materiality we need to know each type of mentality, each type of materiality, and how they work together. We need to know:

1) The materiality of the door.

2) The materiality of the object.

3) The mentality that arises in the material door and mind door.

We need to know and see the eye door, its object (colour), and the mind consciousnesses and eye consciousness that arise when colour strikes the eye door. And we need to know and see that without the materiality of the eye door, no eye consciousness arises, without the materiality of the heart base no mind consciousness arises either, and without the materiality of the object (colour), no eye- or mind consciousness arises either. We need to know and see this for the ear, the nose, the tongue, and body too, and need to know and see that there are objects known by mind consciousnesses alone, which also arise dependent on heart-base materiality.

But these realities are not to be known only as concepts, because that is only to know and see things as they appear, which means we remain what The Buddha called a foolish common person, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see. To know and see these things as they really are we need to penetrate to ultimate reality (paramattha·sacca); we need to know and see ultimate mentality-materiality (paramattha·nāma·rūpa).

KNOWING AND SEEING THE FIRST NOBLE TRUTH

We need to know and see each and every type of mentality. We need to see that in the five sense bases arises one of two types of consciousness, ‘two times five consciousness’ (dve·pañca·viññāṇa):

1) Wholesome resultant consciousnesses (kusala ·vipāka·viññāṇa): that is, eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body consciousness: five types of consciousness.

2) Unwholesome resultant consciousnesses (akusala·vipāka·viññāṇa): that is also, eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, and body consciousness: again five types of consciousness.

That is in total ten types of consciousness. And in the heart base arise all other types of consciousness:

• Twelve types of unwholesome consciousness (akusala·citta): eight greed-rooted, two hatred-rooted, and two delusion-rooted.

• Eighteen types of rootless consciousness (a·hetuka·citta): ten are the same as the ten types of ‘two times five consciousness’ that we just mentioned. There are also the two types of receiving consciousness, the three types of investigating consciousness, the five-door adverting

consciousness, the mind-door adverting consciousness, and the Arahant’s smile-producing consciousness.

• Twenty-four types of sensual-sphere beautiful consciousness (kāma-·sobha a·citta): that is eight types of sensual-sphere wholesome consciousness, eight types of sensual-sphere resultant consciousness, and the Arahant’s eight types of sensual-sphere functional consciousness.

• Fifteen types of fine-material sphere consciousness (rūp·āvacara·citta):

that is, the five types of jhāna wholesome consciousness, the five types of jhāna resultant consciousness, and the Arahant’s five types of jhāna functional consciousness.

• Twelve types of immaterial-sphere consciousness (arūp·āvacara·citta): that is, the four types of immaterial-jhāna wholesome consciousness, the four types of immaterial-jhāna resultant consciousness, and the Arahant’s four types of immaterial-jhāna functional consciousness.

• Eight types of supramundane consciousness (lokuttarā·citta): that is, the four types of Path Consciousness and four types of Fruition Consciousness.

This gives eighty-nine types of consciousness. And whenever one ofthese types of consciousness arises, there arise also a number of associated mental factors, of which there are fifty-two in total. Mentality comprises thus eighty-nine types of consciousness and fifty-two types of associated mental factors.[32] They are included in the Noble Truth of Suffering.

So long as we are yet unenlightened, however, we are able to discern only fifty-four of the eighty-nine types of consciousness and their mental factors. That is:

• Twelve types of unwholesome consciousness (akusala·citta)

• Only seventeen types of rootless consciousness (a·hetuka·citta) (we cannot yet discern the rootless Arahant smiling-consciousness)

• Only sixteen types of sensual-sphere wholesome consciousness (we cannot yet discern the eight types of sensual-sphere functional consciousness, because they are found only in an Arahant)

• Only the five types of fine-material sphere wholesome consciousness (we cannot yet discern the five types of fine-material resultant and five types of fine-material functional consciousness)

• Only the four types of immaterial-sphere wholesome consciousness (we cannot yet discern the four types of immaterial-sphere resultant and four types of immaterial-sphere functional consciousness).

To know and see the Noble Truth of Suffering as it really is, we need thus to directly know and directly see these fifty-four types of consciousness and associated mental factors. But as The Buddha explained, in this our five aggregates world, mentality arises dependent on materiality; the individual consciousness arises dependent on its respective base. That means we need to directly know and directly see also the materiality.

To know and see materiality as it really is we need to know and see how materiality consists of sub-atomic particles that are in Pali called rūpa-kalāpas.[33] They arise and perish very quickly, but that is only conceptual reality (vijjamāna·paññatti), not ultimate materiality (paramattha·rūpa).

To know and see materiality as it really is, we need to penetrate the concept of rūpa-kalāpas (penetrate the delusion of compactness[34]) and see the ultimate realities (paramattha·saccā), the different types of ultimate materiality (paramattha·rūpa), that comprise the individual types of rūpa-kalāpa.

In the ‘Mahā·Gopālaka’ sutta,[35] The Buddha explains the knowledge of materiality that is necessary for a bhikkhu to progress in the Dhamma and Vinaya:

How does a bhikkhu have knowledge of materiality (rūp·aññū)? Here a bhikkhu understands as it really is: ‘All materiality of whatever kind consists of the four great essentials (cattāri mahā·bhūtāni), and materiality derived from the four great essentials (catunna·ñca mahā·bhūtāna upādāya·rūpa ).’

That is how a bhikkhu has knowledge of materiality.

And He says that without this knowledge the bhikkhu is incapable of growth, increase, and fulfilment in this Dhamma-Vinaya.

This means we need to know and see all twenty-eight types of materiality. That is, the four great essentials (mahā·bhūta):

1) earth element (pathavī·dhātu)

2) water element (āpo·dhātu)

3) fire element (tejo·dhātu)

4) wind element (vāyo·dhātu)

And the twenty-four types of derived materiality (upādāya·rūpa), such as:[36]

• The five types of translucent materiality (pasāda·rūpa): the eye-, ear-,nose-, tongue-, and body translucency, which comprise the five physical sense doors.

• The four types of sense-field materiality (gocara·rūpa): colour, sound, odour, flavour.

• Nutritive essence (ojā)

• Life faculty (jīvit·indriya)

• Heart materiality (hadaya·rūpa): the material base for mind consciousnesses (mano·viññāṇa) and their associated mental factors.

HOW YOU KNOW AND SEE THE FIRST AND SECOND NOBLE TRUTH

YOU DEVELOP CONCENTRATION

To be able to see the individual types of materiality of individual rūpa-kalāpas is to be able to see ultimate materiality, and that requires strong and powerful concentration. Only strong and powerful concentration is able to know and see things as they really are.[37] It is explained by The Buddha in, for example, the ‘Samādhi’ sutta (‘The Concentration Sutta’) of the ‘Sacca·Sa yutta’ (‘Section on the Truths’):[38]

Develop concentration (samādhi), bhikkhus. Concentrated (samāhito), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands according to reality. And what does he understand according to reality ?

(1) He understands ‘This is suffering’ according to reality;

(2) He understands ‘This is the origin of suffering’ according to reality.

(3) He understands ‘This is the cessation of suffering,’ according to reality.

(4) He understands ‘This is the path leading to the cessation of suffering’ according to reality.

Develop concentration (samādhi), bhikkhus. Concentrated (samāhito), bhikkhus, a bhikkhu according to reality understands.

That is why, at Pa-Auk, we teach first to develop the strong and powerful concentration of the jhānas (absorption concentration (appanā·samādhi)) using, for example, mindfulness-of-breathing (ān·āpāna·sati) and the ten kasiṇas, or access concentration (upacāra·samādhi)[39] using four-elements meditation (catu-dhātu vavatthāna).[40]

YOU DEVELOP THE LIGHT OF WISDOM

Strong and powerful concentration produces strong and powerful light, and it is by that strong and powerful light that you are able to penetrate to ultimate truth (paramattha·sacca). It is explained by The Buddha in the ‘Ābhā-·Vagga’ (‘Splendour Chapter’) of the A guttara·Nikāya:[41]

• There are, bhikkhus, four splendours. What four? The splendour of the moon, of the sun, of fire, and of wisdom (paññ·ābhā).

• There are, bhikkhus, four radiances. What four? The radiance of the moon, of the sun, of fire, and of wisdom (paññā·pabhā).

• There are, bhikkhus, four lights. What four? The light of the moon, of the sun, of fire, and of wisdom (paññ·āloko).

• There are, bhikkhus, four brilliances. What four? The brilliance of the moon, of the sun, of fire, and of wisdom (paññ·obhāso).

• There are, bhikkhus, four brightnesses. What four? The brightness of the moon, of the sun, of fire, and of wisdom (paññā·pajjoto).

And He refers to the light also in His very first teaching, the ‘Dhamma-·Cakka·Ppavattana’ sutta, when He explains His enlightenment:[42]

…thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things (dhammā) unheard before, there arose in me vision (cakkhu), knowledge (ñāṇa), wisdom (paññā), true knowledge (vijjā) and light (āloko).

Consciousnesses of mundane vipassanā produce strong and powerful ‘light of enlightenment’ (vipassan·obhāso), but consciousnesses of supramundane vipassanā produce light that is even more strong and powerful: for example, the light of the Enlightened One’s enlightenment spread throughout the ten-thousand-fold world system.[43]

How does this light arise? The deeply concentrated consciousness is associated with wisdom (paññā). Such consciousness produces many generations of consciousness-born materiality (cittaja·rūpa) of great brightness.[44]

Using that light, we are able to penetrate to ultimate truth (paramattha·sacca); to see things as they really are. It is like going into a dark room: we need light to see the objects there.[45]

YOU PROTECT YOUR CONCENTRATION

But it is not enough just to develop deep concentration, because to be able to penetrate to ultimate reality is deep and profound, and is an opportunity we must not lose. We teach therefore also how you protect yourself and your meditation by developing the four sublime abidings (brahma·vihāra) up to jhāna or access concentration:[46]

1) Loving-kindness (mettā) to overcome anger and hatred.[47]

2) Compassion (karuṇā) to overcome ill-will and cruelty.

3) Sympathetic joy (muditā) to overcome envy.

4) Equanimity (upekkhā) to overcome indifference towards beings.

For the same reason, we teach also the four Protective Meditations (ca-tur·ārakkha·bhāvanā) up to jhāna or access concentration:[48]

1) Lovingkindness (mettā) to protect you against dangers from other beings.[49]

2) Buddha Recollection (Buddh·Ānussati) to protect you against fear,[50] and dangers from other beings.

3) Foulness meditation (asubha·bhāvanā) to protect you against lust and desire.[51]

4) Death Recollection (maraṇ·ānussati) to protect you against laziness in meditation: to fire you with a sense of urgency (saṁvega).[52]

With the jhāna concentration or access concentration that you have already developed, these subjects do not take long to develop.[53]

YOU PENETRATE TO ULTIMATE REALITY

PENETRATING TO ULTIMATE MATERIALITY

If you are a samatha yogi, with strong and powerful concentration that is well protected, we then teach you how to know and see materiality as it really is, using four-elements meditation (catu-dhātu vavatthāna).[54] But if you prefer not to develop samatha, and prefer to develop only access concentration, you go straight to four-elements meditation.

We teach the discernment of materiality first for several reasons. One reason is that to discern materiality is very subtle and profound. But although materiality changes billions of times per second, it does not change as quickly as mentality does. This means that once you have completed the profound discernment of materiality, the more profound discernment of mentality becomes easier for you to do. Another reason is that mentality depends on materiality, and unless one can see the specific materiality that a consciousness depends upon, one cannot see the mentality at all. To be able to see it, one needs to see its arising.[55]

Four-elements meditation means you discern the four elements in materiality, and you start with the materiality that is your own body, that is, you start with materiality that The Buddha called internal (ajjhatta). The Buddha explains four-elements meditation in the ‘Mahā·Sati·Paṭhāna’ sutta:[56]

Again, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu reviews this body, however it may be placed or disposed, in terms of the elements (dhātu): ‘There are in this body

(1) earth element. . . .(pathavī·dhātu),

(2) water element. . . (āpo·dhātu),

(3) fire element. . . . . (tejo·dhātu),

(4) wind element. . . . (vāyo·dhātu).

It is easier to start with one’s own materiality because it is easier to know that one’s own materiality is hot or cold or hard or soft than it is to know it in external materiality such as the materiality of another being. But once you have become skilled in discerning internal materiality, you will need to discern also the remaining ten categories of materiality enumerated by The Buddha: past, future, present, external, gross, subtle, inferior, superior, far and near.[57]

The Buddha taught four-elements meditation in order that we may be able to know and see ultimate materiality. First, you develop the ability to know and see the different characteristics of the four elements in your body as one compact mass of materiality, as one lump. As your skill and concentration develops you will eventually be able to see the rūpa-kalāpas, and then, using the light of concentration that you have developed, you will then be able to penetrate the delusion of compactness,[58] penetrate to ultimate materiality, to know and see, to identify and analyse the individual types of materiality in the different types of rūpa-kalāpa.

PENETRATING TO ULTIMATE MENTALITY

Having now truly known and seen the different types of ultimate materiality, you can proceed to knowing and seeing ultimate mentality, which is meditation on mentality (nāma·kammaṭhāna).

We can discern mentality either by way of the six sense bases or by way of the six sense doors.[59] But, since you discerned materiality by way of the sense doors, the Visuddhi·Magga says you should do the same for mentality:[60] When he has discerned materiality thus, the immaterial states become plain to him in accordance with the sense doors. And the sub-commentary says further that to discern mentality by way of the doors is to be free from confusion.[61]

The six sense doors and their objects were mentioned earlier, and are:

1) The eye door, which takes colour objects.

2) The ear door, which takes sound objects.

3) The nose door, which takes odour objects.

4) The tongue door, which takes flavour objects.

5) The body door, which takes touch objects.

6) The mind door (bhavaṅga), which takes the previous five objects of the five material sense doors, and dhamma objects.[62]

When one of the six types of object strikes its respective door, a series of consciousnesses (citta) arise, and with each consciousness arise also a number of associated mental factors (cetasika): this is according to the natural law of consciousness (citta·niyāma). Such a series of consciousnesses and associated mental factors is called a mental process (citta·vīthi), and there are accordingly six types:

1) Eye-door process (cakkhu·dvāra·vīthi)

2) Ear-door process (sota·dvāra·vīthi)

3) Nose-door process (ghāna·dvāra·vīthi)

4) Tongue-door process (jivhā·dvāra·vīthi)

5) Body-door process (kāya·dvāra·vīthi)

6) Mind-door process (mano·dvāra·vīthi)

When a material object strikes upon its material door, a mental process of the first five doors arises: this is called a five-door process (pañca·dvāra·vīthi). But a mental process of the sixth door, the mind door (the bhavaṅga), is called a mind-door process (mano·dvāra·vīthi).

As also mentioned before, when one of the five types of material object strikes upon its material door, it strikes at the same time upon the mind door (bhavaṅga):[63] both a five-door- and a mind-door process arise.

When, for example, a colour object strikes upon the eye door, it strikes at the same time upon the mind door (bhavaṅga), which gives rise first to an eye-door process, and then to many mind-door process.64 This too takes place according to the natural law of consciousness (citta·niyāma).

It is thus clear that to know and see mentality, we need first to know and see materiality, because to know and see these mental processes, we need first to know and see the sense doors and their objects. This you did when you discerned materiality.[65]

When discerning mentality, you first discern the different types of mental process, which means you discern how many consciousness moments (citta·kkhaṇa) there are in each mental process, and discern the different types of consciousness moment. But that is not ultimate mentality (paramat-tha·nāma). Just as you with materiality had to break down the delusion of compactness that is the rūpa-kalāpa, so do you here need to break down the delusion of compactness that is the mental process.[66]

Each mental process comprises what we call consciousness moments (citta·kkhaṇa), and each consciousness moment is the time it takes for one consciousness (citta) and its associated mental factors (cetasika) to arise, stand and perish. A consciousness does not arise alone: it arises always together with associated mental factors. Likewise, associated mental factors do not arise alone: they arise always together with a consciousness. Hence, a consciousness and its associated mental factors arise as a compact group. To break down this compactness, you need to analyse each type of consciousness moment and know and see the individual consciousness and its associated mental factors. That is knowing and seeing the different types of ultimate mentality (paramattha·nāma). It is far subtler than knowing and seeing the different types of ultimate materiality. But you can do it because of the strong and powerful light of concentration that you have developed, and because of the power of discernment that you developed when discerning materiality.

Mentality comprises, as mentioned,[67] eighty-nine types of conscious and fifty-two types of associated mental factors. But eight of those consciousnesses are supramundane (lokuttarā): four Paths and four Fruitions), and arise only when you do vipassanā practice on one of the remaining eighty-one types of consciousness (all mundane), and its associated mental factors. In other words, the objects of vipassanā are only the mundane eighty-one types of consciousness, and their associated mental factors, whereas the results of that vipassanā are the eight supramundane consciousnesses.

Furthermore, included in those eighty-one types of mundane consciousnesses are the jhānas. But you cannot discern unless you have attained them. Should you therefore be a pure-vipassanā yogi, you leave out the discernment of jhāna consciousnesses.

What you will now be able to discern is explained by the Buddha in the ‘Mahā·Sati·Paṭṭhāna’ sutta:[68]

Again and further, bhikkhus, how does a bhikkhu abide contemplating consciousness as consciousness? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands:

(1) lustful consciousness (sa·raga·citta) as lustful consciousness,

(2) unlustful consciousness (vita·raga·citta) as unlustful consciousness,

(3) hateful consciousness (sa·dosa·citta) as hateful consciousness,

(4) unhateful consciousness (vita·dosa·citta) as unhateful consciousness,

(5) deluded consciousness (sa·moha·citta) as deluded consciousness,

(6) undeluded consciousness (vita·moha·citta) as undeluded consciousness,

(7) contracted consciousness (samkhitta·citta) as contracted consciousness,

(8) distracted consciousness69 (vikkhitta·citta) as distracted consciousness,

(9) exalted consciousness69 (mahaggata·citta) as exalted consciousness,

(10) unexalted consciousness (a·mahaggata·citta) as unexalted consciousness,

(11) surpassed consciousness69 (sa·uttara·citta) as surpassed consciousness,

(12) unsurpassed consciousness (an·uttara·citta) as unsurpassed consciousness,

(13) concentrated consciousness69 (samahita·citta) as concentrated consciousness,

(14) unconcentrated consciousness (a·samahita·citta) as unconcentrated consciouness,

(15) liberated consciousness[69] (vimutta·citta) as liberated consciousness,

(16) unliberated consciousness (a·vimutta·citta) as unliberated consciousness.

• Thus he abides contemplating mind as mind internally (ajjhattaṁ),

• or he abides contemplating mind as mind externally (bahiddhā),

• or he abides contemplating mind as mind [both] internally and externallyn(ajjhatta·bahiddhā).

Here, The Buddha explains mentality as comprising sixteen types of consciousness. That means you should know and see each pair, such as a consciousness associated with lust,and one dissociated from lust, as they really are, by way of each of the six sense doors, and do it internally, externally and both internally and externally. Then will you have penetrated to ultimate mentality, and know and see it as it really is.

THE THREE PURIFICATIONS

Having now known and seen mentality-materiality as they really are, you have realized what is called the three purifications.[70] The Visuddhi-Magga,[71] explains:[72]

(1) …morality purification (sīla·visuddhi) is the quite purified fourfold morality beginning with Pāṭimokkha restraint

(2) …consciousness purification (citta·visuddhi), namely, the eight attainments [the jhānas] together with access concentration[73]

(3) …view purification (diṭṭhi·visuddhi) is the correct seeing of mentality-materiality.

KNOWING AND SEEING THE SECOND AND THIRD NOBLE TRUTH

To attain Nibbāna, however, we need to know and see also the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering is explained by The Buddha in the ‘Dhamma·Cakka·Ppavattana’ sutta:[74]

Now this, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering: it is this craving (taṇhā) that leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is,

(1) craving for sensual pleasures (kāma·taṇhā),

(2) craving for existence (bhava·taṇhā),

(3) craving for non-existence (vibhava·taṇhā).

In more detail, The Buddha explains the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering as dependent origination (paṭicca·samuppāda):[75]

And what, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Dukkha·Samudaya Ariya·Saccaṁ)?

(1) Because of ignorance (avijjā), formations (arise) (saṅkhārā);

(2) because of formations, consciousness (viññāṇa);

(3) because of consciousness, mentality-materiality (nāma·rūpa);

(4) because of mentality-materiality, the six bases (saḷ·āyatana);

(5) because of the six bases, contact (phassa);

(6) because of contact, feeling (vedanā);

(7) because of feeling, craving (taṇhā);

(8) because of craving, clinging (upādāna);

(9) because of clinging, existence (bhava);

(10) because of existence, birth (jāti);

(11) because of birth,

(12) ageing & death (jarā·maraṇa), sorrow (soka), lamentation (parideva), pain (dukkha), grief (domanassa) and despair (upāyāsā) arise.

Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

This is called, bhikkhus, the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering (Idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, Dukkha·Samudaya Ariya·Saccaṁ).

Also this needs to be known and seen as it really is, which is to know and see how five causes in one life (ignorance, volitional formations, craving, clinging and existence[76]) give rise to rebirth, which is five results (consciousness, mentality-materiality, the six sense bases, contact and feeling). You need to see how this ongoing process continues from life to life.

HOW YOU KNOW AND SEE THE THIRD NOBLE TRUTH

But it is not enough to see dependent origination only as the arising of formations; you need also to see it as the perishing and cessation of formations:[77]

And what, bhikkhus, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Dukkha·Nirodha Ariya·Saccaṁ ) ?

(1) With ignorance’s remainderless fading away and cessation (avijjāya tveva asesa·virāga·nirodhā),

(2) volitional formations cease (saṅkhāra·nirodho);

(3) with volitional formations’ cessation, consciousness ceases (viññāṇa·nirodho);

(4) with consciousness’s cessation, mentality-materiality ceases (nāma·rūpa·nirodho);

(5) with mentality-materiality’s cessation, the six sense bases cease (saḷ·āyatana-·nirodho);

(6) with the six sense bases’ cessation, contact ceases (phassa·nirodho);

(7) with contact’s cessation, feeling ceases (vedanā·nirodho);

(8) with feeling’s cessation, craving ceases (taṇhā·nirodho);

(9) with craving’s cessation, clinging ceases (upādāna·nirodho);

(10) with clinging’s cessation, existence ceases (bhava·nirodho);

(11) with existence’s cessation, birth ceases (jāti·nirodho);

(12) with birth’s cessation, ageing & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair cease (jarā·maraṇaṁ , soka·parideva·dukkha·domanass·upāyāsā nirujjhanti).

Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

This is called, bhikkhus, the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, Dukkha·Nirodha Ariya·Saccaṁ).

You need to see the momentary cessation of formations that takes place from consciousness moment to consciousness moment, which is knowing and seeing the (mundane) Truth of Suffering. And you need to continue until you see that you in the future attain Arahantship and later attain Parinibbāna.

When you in the future attain Arahantship, ignorance (1) will have been destroyed, and there will have been the remainderless cessation (an·avasesa·nirodhā) of volitional formations (2), craving (8), and clinging (9): the causes for suffering will have ceased. But suffering itself will not have ceased, because the results of past kamma still operate: you will still be possessed of the five aggregates.[78] (Even The Buddha was possessed of the five aggregates, and suffered pleasant and unpleasant feelings.[79]) It is only at your Parinibbāna that the five aggregates cease without remainder: it is only at your Parinibbāna that suffering ceases. This means there are two types of cessation:

1) the cessation at your attainment of Arahantship

2) the cessation at your Parinibbāna

The cause for these two cessations is the Arahant Path Knowledge, which knows and sees (the Unformed (A·Saṅkhata)) Nibbāna, the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering (Nirodha Ariya·Sacca). But this does not mean that when you now look into the future and know and see your attainment of Arahantship and Parinibbāna, you know and see Nibbāna: you do not at this stage know and see Nibbāna. At this stage you know and see only when the five causes that give rise to formations cease, there are no more formations. With that knowledge, you understand that your Parinibbāna will have been realized.

Without seeing this, says The Buddha, you cannot realize Nibbāna, the goal of asceticism and Brahminhood:[80]

Those, bhikkhus, ascetics or Brahmins (samaṇā vā brāhmanā vā)

(1) who do not understand ageing & death,

(2) who do not understand ageing & death’s origin (samudaya),

(3) who do not understand ageing & death’s cessation (nirodha),

(4) and who do not understand the way leading to ageing & death’s cessation (nirodha·gāmini·paṭipada );

who do not understand birth… existence…clinging… craving… feeling… contact…the six sense bases… mentality-materiality… consciousness… volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics or Brahmins among Brahmins, and such venerable ones do not, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism or the goal of Brahminhood.

But you can enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism, you can see these things, because you have developed strong and powerful concentration.

The Buddha explains in the ‘Samādhi’ sutta (‘The Concentration Sutta’) of the ‘Khandha·Saṁyutta’ (‘The Aggregate-Section’):[81]

Develop concentration, bhikkhus (Samādhiṁ, bhikkhave, bhāvetha). Concentrated, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu according to reality understands (yathā·bhūtapajānāti). And what according to reality does he understand?

(1) Materiality’s appearance and disappearance;

(2) feeling’s appearance and disappearance;

(3) perception’s appearance and disappearance;

(4) formations’ appearance and disappearance;

(5) consciousness’s appearance and disappearance.

YOU KNOW AND SEE DEPENDENT ORIGINATION

The splendour, radiance, light, brilliance and brightness of wisdom that you have developed enables you to go back along the line of successive mentality-materiality from the present to the moment of your rebirth in this life, to the moment of your death in your past life, and further back in the same way to as many lives as you can discern, and then also look into the future, to the time of your own Parinibbāna.[82] By looking at the individual constituents of mentality-materiality, you will be able to identify the causes and effects.

At the time of practising diligently and with a mind that is purified by strong and powerful concentration, engaged in the deep and profound practice of discerning ultimate mentality-materiality, you will see that in the future there is the attainment of final cessation: Nibbāna. But if you stop meditating etc., the conditions will have changed, in which case the future results will also have changed.

An example of this is Mahādhana the Treasurer’s Son and his wife.[83] They both inherited very much wealth, but Mahādhana squandered it on drink and entertainment. Finally, he and his wife had nothing at all, and were begging in the streets. The Buddha explained to Ānanda that if Mahādhāna had become a bhikkhu when young, he would have become an Arahant; if he had become a bhikkhu when middle-aged, he would have become a Non-Returner; and if he had become a bhikkhu when elderly, he would have become a Once-Returner: such were his pāramī. But because of drink, he attained nothing at all, and was now a beggar. This shows that our future is determined all the time by our present. That is why, at the time of practising deep and profound meditation continuously over a period, you will see your own Parinibbāna either in this life or in the future.

Without seeing past lives and future lives it is impossible for you to understand dependent origination as it really is: to know and see how past causes have given results in the present, and present causes will give results in the future, and how the cessation of the causes gives the cessation of the results. And without knowing and seeing dependent origination, it is impossible to know and see the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering as it really is. It is explained in the Visuddhi·Magga:[84]

There is no one, even in a dream, who has got out of the fearful round of rebirths, which is ever destroying like a thunderbolt, unless he has severed with the knife of knowledge well whetted on the stone of sublime concentration, this Wheel of Existence, which offers no footing owing to its great profundity, and is hard to get by owing to the maze of many methods. And this has been said by the Blessed One:

This dependent origination is profound, Ānanda, and profound it appears. And, Ānanda, it is through not understanding, through not penetrating it, that this generation has become a tangled skein, a knotted ball of thread, matted as the roots in a bed of reeds, and finds no way out of the round of rebirths, with its states of loss, unhappy destinations… perdition.[85]

Once you have known and seen the Second Noble Truth (the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering) as it really is, you will have overcome doubt about the three divisions of time: present, past, and future. It is explained in the Visuddhi·Magga:[86]

When he has thus seen that the occurrence of mentality-materiality is due to conditions (paccayato), then he sees (samanupassati) that, as now, so in the past too its occurrence was due to conditions, and in the future too its occurrence will be due to conditions.

Having reached this stage, you have realized the Doubt-Overcoming Purification (Kaṅkhā·Vitara a Visuddhi).[87] It is only at this stage that you can begin to practice Vipassāna, because it is only at this stage that you know and see ultimate reality: you cannot practise vipassanā until you have seen dhammas[88] as they really are.

YOU PRACTISE VIPASSANĀ

When practising vipassanā, you go back and again know and see the Noble Truth of Suffering as it really is, and the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering as it really is: you know and see the arising and perishing of all eleven categories of mentality-materiality. But this time you know and see them as impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha) and without a self, non-self (an·atta). You know and see formations as they really are, and reflect on them according to the instructions given by The Buddha in His second teaching, the ‘An·Atta·Lakkhaṇa’ sutta (‘The Non-Self Characteristic Sutta’), which He taught to the group of five bhikkhus (pañca·vaggiyā bhikkhū):[89]

(1) What do you think, bhikkhus, is materiality permanent or impermanent (niccaṁ vā aniccaṁ vā)? (Impermanent, Venerable Sir.)

(2) That which is impermanent, is it suffering or happiness (dukkhaṁ vā taṁ sukhaṁ vā)? (Suffering, Venerable Sir.)

(3) Is that which is impermanent, suffering and subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine (etaṁ mama); this I am (esohamasmi); this is my self (esome attā)’? (No, Venerable Sir.)

Therefore, bhikkhus, (1) whatever kind of materiality there is, whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near, all materiality should be seen as it really is with right wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine (netaṁ mama;); this I am not (nesohamasmi;); this is not my self (na meso attā)’.

(2) Whatever kind of feeling there is whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near, all feeling.…

(3) Whatever kind of perception there is whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near, all perception.…

(4) Whatever kind of mental formations there are whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near all mental formations.…

(5) Whatever kind of consciousness there is whether past, future, or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; inferior or superior; far or near, all consciousness should be seen as it really is with right wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine; this I am not; this is not my self’.[90]

In other words, formations (saṅkhārā), which is mentality-materiality and their causes, perish as soon as they arise, which is why they are impermanent (anicca); they are subject to constant arising and perishing, which is why they are suffering (dukkha); they have no self (atta), or stable and indestructible essence, which is why they are non-self (anatta).

YOU KNOW AND SEE THE UNFORMED

Through a series of exercises in which you contemplate the rising and perishing of formations, and then only the perishing of formations, you progress through the remaining Knowledges (Ñāṇa), after which you will eventually know and see the Unformed (A·saṅkhata), which is Nibbāna. When you know and see the unformed, you know and see the Deathless (A·mata). This is explained by The Buddha:[91]

Let him look on the world as void:

Thus, Mogharāja, always mindful,

He may escape the clutch of death

By giving up belief in self.

For King Death cannot see the man

Who looks in this way on the world.

When The Buddha says we must know and see the world as void, He means that we must know and see it as void of permanence (nicca), void of happiness (sukha) and void of self (atta).[92] In ordinary language, we may say that you must see absolute zero.

But this does not mean that your consciousness is absolute zero: your consciousness is fully aware: it is the object that your consciousness knows and sees which is absolute zero. The object that your conscious-ness is fully aware of and knows and sees is the Nibbāna element: the Unformed Element (A·saṅkhata·Dhātu).[93] This is realization of the Supramundane Eightfold Noble Path, when all eight factors take Nibbāna as object.[94]

YOU FULLY REALIZE THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

It is at this stage that you will have realized the Four Noble Truths as they really are, and that has been possible only because the necessary conditions for doing so have been present. In the ‘Kūṭāgāra’ sutta (‘The Peaked-House Sutta’) mentioned previously, the Buddha explains also how those conditions make it possible to put a complete end to suffering:[95]

Indeed, bhikkhus, if anyone said: ‘Having built the lower structure of a peaked house, I shall erect the upper structure’, such a thing is possible. So too, if anyone said:

(1) ‘Having realized the Noble Truth of Suffering as it really is;

(2) ‘having realized the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering as it really is;

(3) ‘having realized the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering as it really is;

(4) ‘having realized the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering as it really is, ‘I shall put a complete end to suffering’; such a thing is possible.

And He adds:

(1) Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made (yogo karaṇīyo) to understand: ‘This is suffering (Idaṁ dukkhan’ti).’

(2) Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering (Idaṁ dukkha·samudayan’ti).’

(3) Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering (Idaṁ dukkha·nirodhan’ti).’

(4) Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: ‘This is the path leading to the cessation of suffering (Idaṁ dukkha·nirodha·gāminī·paṭipadā’ti).’

May all beings find the opportunity to make the necessary exertion to fully realize the Four Noble Truths, and put a complete end to suffering.

Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw

Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery

[Notes]

[9] This introduction is an addition to Knowing and Seeing Revised Edition.

[10] For untranslated Pali, see Appendix 1 ‘Glossary of Untranslated Pali Terms’, p.283ff.

[11] S.V.XII.iii.1 ‘Paṭhama·Koṭigāma·Sutta ’ (‘The First Koṭigāma Sutta’) For bibliographical abbreviations and source references, see ‘Bibliographical Abbreviations etc.’ p.281.

[12] S.V.XII.v.4: a peaked house is here a single-storied house with four outside pillars that are surmounted with beams that support a high roof that peaks.

[13] This is explained in the commentary to M.I.iv.3 ‘Mahā·Gopālaka·Sutta ’ (‘The Great Cowherd Sutta’), where The Buddha explains the eleven qualities in a bhikkhu that make it impossible for him to progress in the Dhamma-Vinaya.

[14] S.V.XII.ii.1 ‘The Dhamma-Wheel Setting-in-Motion Sutta’

[15] S.III.II.v.2 ‘The Flower Sutta’

[16] formations: (saṅkhāra) The meaning of this term depends on the context. 1) As the cause of consciousness (here), it refers to the formation of kamma: volitional formation by body, speech or mind. 2) As the fourth clinging-aggregate, it refers to all the mental factors (except the two mental factors feeling and perception) associated with any kind of consciousness (resultant-, functional- or kamma consciousness): mental formations. In yet other contexts, the term has yet other meanings.

[17] D.ii.9 ‘The Great Mindfulness-Foundation Sutta’ (Also M.I.i.10)

[18] S.III.I.v.6. In M.III.i.9 ‘Mahā·Puṇṇama·Suttaṁ ’ (‘The Great Fullmoon-Night Sutta’), a bhikkhu asks The Buddha why the aggregates are called aggregates, and He explains that the eleven categories constitute the aggregation of each aggregate.

[19] From another point-of-view, mentality-materiality are by The Buddha referred to as the six bases (sāl·āyatana: six internal and six external), which is a term He also uses when explaining dependent origination. Throughout His Teaching, The Buddha explains phenomena according to the inclination and understanding of his listeners. Hence, He explains mentality-materiality in many different ways, although they refer ultimately to the same things. See also Q&A 2.2, p.72, and footnote 474, p.248.

[20] S.II.I.v.4

[21] Here, rūpa refers to colour, without which the object cannot be seen.

[22] Here, as He is speaking of the eighteen elements of the world, dhammas refers to the sixteen kinds of subtle materiality, and all associated mental factors. When speaking of dhammas in other contexts, The Buddha means all objects, which include Nibbāna and concepts (paññatti). But as the latter are not the world (are neither mentality nor materiality, and are therefore not the First and Second Noble Truths) they are not included in the ‘World Sutta’. See further footnote 474, p.248.

[23] sense base: the five physical sense bases are called either vatthu or āyatana. The sixth sense base (the immaterial mind base (man·āyatana)) is called only āyatana. But the physical base of the sixth base is called vatthu, as in hadaya·vatthu (heart base). All six sense bases may also be called the six elements (dhātu).

[24] Faculty (indriya) is here the same as ‘base’, ‘door’, ‘element’ etc. elsewhere. The Brahmin to whom The Buddha is here speaking, used ‘five faculties’ in his introductory question. (S.V.IV.v.2 ‘Uṇṇābha Brahmin Sutta’)

[25] The Most Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw refers to the simile in the Aṭṭhasālinī §114

(The Expositor p.96): when a bird lands on the branch of a tree, its shadow strikes the ground at the same time. In the same way, when the object strikes the material door, it strikes the mind door at the same time.

[26] More precisely: 1) visible-/chromatic-, 2) auditory-, 3) olfactory-, 4) gustatory-, and 5)tangible/tactile objects.

[27] translucent/translucency: see dictionary definition, footnote 504, p.276.

[28] gross/subtle materiality: two divisions of the twenty-eight types of materiality. Gross materiality (oḷārika·rūpa) is considered so because it is impingeing materiality (sappaṭigha-·rūpa) <materiality that impinges upon other materiality>. It is of twelve types: 1-5) the five translucencies (just mentioned); 6-9) colour, sound, odour, and flavour; 10-12) the earth-, fire-, and wind element. The translucencies are cognized by mind-door consciousness; the remainder by both mind-door- and five-door consciousness: they are easily discerned by insight. Subtle materiality (sukhuma·rūpa) is considered so because it is non-impingeing materiality (a·ppaṭigha·rūpa). It is of sixteen types: 1) the water element; 2-6) nutritive-essence, life faculty, heart base-, and female/male sex-materiality; 7-16) the ten

types of unconcrete materiality (See Table 2a ‘ The Twenty-Eight Types of Materiality’, p.137). Subtle materiality is cognized only by mind consciousness, and is not easily discerned by insight.

[29] consciousness element: eye-, ear-, nose-, tongue-, body-, and mind-consciousness element.

[30] fifty-two kinds of mental factors: VARIABLES: seven universals and six occasionals; UNWHOLESOME: fourteen universals, ten occasionals; WHOLESOME: nineteen beautiful universals, three abstinences, two illimitables and non-delusion. For the wholesome, see, for example, the thirty-three mental factors of the first jhāna, table p.162.

[31] See table ‘1b: The Mind-Door Process’, p.164, and quotation p.125, from Dispeller of Delusion.

[32] When doing nāma·kammaṭṭhāna (mentality meditation) one knows and sees these things directly (see also p.159ff). Until then, one is referred to the Abs.

[33] sub-atomic: The Most Venerable Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw is here using the term ‘sub-atomic’ to indicate what kind of reality one is looking at: he is not making any kind of equation between the hypotheses of modern science and the realities that one sees in the Buddha’s ancient science.

[34] For details about penetrating the delusion of compactness, see Q&A 1.3, p.49, and ‘How You Analyse the Rūpa-Kalāpas’, p.124.

[35] M.I.iv.3 ‘Mahā·Gopālaka·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Great Cowherd Sutta’)

[36] For a complete list of the twenty-eight types of materiality, see Table 2a ‘The Twenty-Eight Types of Materiality’, p.137.

[37] This is what is called vipassanā-basis jhāna (vipassanā·pādaka·jjhāna): see footnote 330, p. 173. It is mentioned in many suttas, for example, D.i.2 ‘Sāmañña·Phala·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Asceticism-Fruit Sutta’). There, The Buddha explains how the bhikkhu develops the four jhānas, and then: ‘With consciousness thus concentrated (samāhite citte), purified (parisud-dhe), cleansed (pariyodāte), unblemished (anaṅgaṇe), with contaminations gone (vigat·ūpak-kilese), become flexible (mudu·bhūte), wieldy (kammaniye), fixed (ṭhite), attained to imperturbability (āneñja·ppatte), he directs and turns his consciousness towards knowledge and vision (ñāṇa·dassananāya citta abhinīharati abhininnāmeti).’

[38] S.V.XII.i.1 ‘The Concentration Sutta’

[39] For a discussion about the different types of concentration, see Q&A 3.1, p.95.

[40] For mindfulness-of-breathing, see ‘How You Develop Mindfulness-of-Breathing’ p.33ff, for the ten kasiṇas, see ‘How You Develop the Ten Kasiṇas’, p.61ff; for four-elements meditation, see ‘How You Develop Four Elements Meditation’, p.116ff.

[41] A.IV.III.v.1-5 ‘Ābhā-’, ‘Pabhā-’, ‘Āloka-’, ‘Obhā-’, and ‘Pajjota·Suttaṁ’

[42] S.V.XII.ii.1 ‘The Dhamma-Wheel Setting-in-Motion Sutta’

[43] VsM.xx.634 ‘Vipassan·Upakkilesa·Kathā’ (‘Vipassanā Imperfection Discussion’) PP.-xx.107. The light is the result of wholesome dhammas and is in itself not an imperfection. But it can be the basis for imperfection (uppakilesa·vaṭṭhu) if the yogi who experiences it becomes very attached to it, and develops the wrong view that he has thereby attained Path and Fruition. See also SA.V.XII.ii.1 ‘Dhamma·Cakka·Ppavattana·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Dhamma-Wheel Setting-in-Motion Sutta’), and ‘How You Overcome the Ten Imperfections’, p.222.

[44] For details about the light that arises with very deep concentration and vipassanā meditation, see ‘Consciousness-born Materiality’, p.112, and Q&A 4.10, p.156.

[45] In S.IV.I.xvi.5 ‘Jīvak·Amba·Vana·Samādhi·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Jīvaka’s-Mango-Grove Concentration Sutta’), The Buddha explains this in accordance with the six bases: ‘Develop concentration, bhikkhus. When concentrated (samāhitassa), bhikkhus, things become manifest to the bhikkhu, according to reality. And what becomes manifest according to reality? The eye becomes manifest according to reality as impermanent. Sights… Eye consciousness… Eye contact… And any feeling that arises because of eye contact, be it pleasant, unpleasant, or neither unpleasant nor pleasant… [the ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, their objects, respective consciousnesses, contact, and feelings: the same as “the all” referred to in quotation, p.152].’ SA explains that ‘become manifest’ (okkhāyati) means they become manifest (paccakkhāyati), knowable (paññāyati), and evident (pākataṁ): paccakkha (discernible, perceivable, known to the senses, manifest) is the opposite of anumāna (inference). And in S.V.III.i.4 ‘Sāla·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Sāla Sutta’), The Buddha explains that newly ordained bhikkhus should be trained to abide contemplating the four foundations of mindfulness ‘of unified (ekodibhūtā) clear consciousness (vippasanna·cittā), concentrated (samāhitā), of one-pointed consciousness (ek·agga·cittā), in order to know… [the four foundations of mindfulness] according to reality (kāyassa yathā·bhūtaṃ ñāṇāya).’

[46] See The Buddha’s analysis of the four divine abidings, A.VI.I.ii.3 ‘Nissāraṇīya·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Escape Sutta’), and M.II.ii.2 ‘Mahā·Rāhul·Ovāda·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Great Advice-to-Rāhula Sutta’), and Q&A 2.2, p.72.

[47] See The Buddha’s advice, U.iv.1‘Meghiya·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Meghiya Sutta’), discussed also ‘Summary’, p.93, and Q&A 7.13, p.235.

[48] These are also called the four protective meditation subjects (ārakkha·kammaṭṭhāna).

[49] See The Buddha’s explanation of the benefits of loving-kindness practice, A.XI.ii.5 ‘Metta·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Loving-Kindness Sutta’): quoted p.87. For an example of this meditation’s efficacy, see also Q&A 2.2, p.72.

[50] See The Buddha’s advice, S.I.XI.i.3 ‘Dhajagga·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Standard Sutta’).

[51] For details on this meditation, see p.92f.

[52] See The Buddha’s advice, A.VI.ii.10&11 ‘Paṭhama-’ & ‘Dutiya·Maraṇassati·Suttaṁ’(‘The First-’ & ‘Second Death-Recollection Sutta’).

[53] For the sublime abidings and protective meditations see Talk 3 ‘How You Develop the Sublime Abidings and Protective Meditations’, p.81ff.

[54] For four-elements meditation, see ‘How You Develop Four Elements Meditation’, p.116ff.

[55] This is explained VsM.xviii.669-671 ‘Nāma·Rūpa·Pariggaha·Kathā’ (‘Mentality-Materiality Definition Discussion’) PP.xviii.16-23, where is added that if one does not complete the discernment of materiality before proceeding to discern mentality, one ‘falls from one’s meditation subject like the [foolish] mountain cow…’. (A.IX.I.iv.4 ‘Gāvī-Upamā·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Cow Simile Sutta’) mentioned p.46.). But this refers only to sensual sphere mentality, not fine-material sphere mentality (jhāna). See also p.160.

[56] D.ii.9 ‘The Great Mindfulness-Foundation Sutta’ (Also M.I.i.10). See also M.II.ii.2 ‘Mahā·Rāhul·Ovāda·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Great Advice-to-Rāhula Sutta’).

[57] See ‘Khandha·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Aggregates Sutta’) quoted, p.4.

[58] For details regarding the delusion of compactness, see Q&A 1.3, p.49, and ‘How You Analyse the Rūpa-Kalāpas’, p.124.

[59] When you discern by way of the sense bases, you discern the consciousnesses and associated mental factors that arise dependent on each of the sense bases. (E.g. you discern the eye base (the eye-translucent element), and then the eye consciousness (1) and associated mental factors (7) that arise dependent on the eye base.) When you discern by way of the six sense doors, you discern the different types of consciousness in the mental processes of each door. For example, the different consciousness and associated mental factors of the eye-door process. See also p.9 and following.

[60] VsM.xviii.664 ‘Nāma·Rūpa·Pariggaha·Kathā’ (‘Mentality-Materiality Definition Discussion’) PP.xviii.8

[61] VsM .ibid. For each of the five sense bases only one such type of consciousness arises, but for the heart base, there arise all other types of consciousness. Unless one is well familiar with the Abhidhamma’s explanation of the different types of consciousnesses in the different types of mental process, this may be very confusing to the beginning yogi.

[62] See p.7 for explanation of ‘dhamma objects’.

[63] See ‘Uṇṇābha Brahmin Sutta’ (quoted) etc., p.6ff.

[64] For details, see tables 1b and 1c, p.164ff.

[65] See ‘How You Analyse the Translucencies’, p.129ff.

[66] For details regarding the delusion of compactness, see also Q&A 1.3, p.49.

[67] See p.10f.

[68] ‘The Great Mindfulness-Foundation Sutta’ (Also M.I.i.10)

[69] D.ii.9: CONTRACTED shrunken, slothful and torpid, without interest in the object; DISTRACTED agitated, restless, worried; EXALTED of a fine-material/immaterial sphere (jhāna); UNEXALTED of the sensual sphere; SURPASSED of the sensual sphere; UNSURPASSED of a fine-material/immaterial sphere (jhāna); CONCENTRATED of access-concentration or jhāna; UNCONCENTRATED otherwise; LIBERATED at this stage, this refers to a consciousness that is temporarily liberated owing to wise attention or because the hindrances have been suppressed by concentration; UNLIBERATED not so. The pairs 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, each cover all types of mundane consciousness.

[70] See further Q&A 2.3, p.77.

[71] Visuddhi·Magga (Purification Path): authoritative and extensive instruction manual on meditation, compiled from ancient, orthodox Sinhalese translations of the even earlier Pali Commentaries (predominantly ‘The Ancients’ (Porāṇā), dating back to the time of The Buddha and the First Council) as well as later Sinhalese Commentaries, and translated back into Pali by Indian scholar monk Venerable Buddhaghosa (approx. 500 A.C.).

[72] VsM.xviii.587 ‘Diṭṭhi·Visuddhi·Niddesa’ (‘View-Purification Description’) PP.xviii.1-2

[73] For how concentration purifies the mind, see also Q&A 7.8, p.232.

[74] S.V.XII.ii.1 ‘The Dhamma-Wheel Setting-in-Motion Sutta’

[75] A.III.II.ii.1 ‘Titth·Āyatana·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Sectarian Doctrines Sutta’)

[76] There are two types of existence (bhava): 1) kamma-process existence (kamma·bhava), which is the production of kamma; 2) rebirth-process existence (upapatti·bhava), which is the result of kamma (rebirth in any sphere of existence). See quotation, footnote 364,

[77] A.III.II.ii.1 ‘Titth·Āyatana·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Sectarian Doctrines Sutta’)

[78] The five aggregates = consciousness (3), mentality-materiality (4), the six sense bases (5), contact (6), and feeling (7).

[79] The Buddha suffered, for example, because of a back pain (see p.241), and at old age because of ageing (see quotation p.252).

[80] S.II.I.ii.3 ‘Samaṇa·Brāhmaṇa·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Ascetics and Brahmins Sutta’). In M.II.iii.10 ‘Vekhanassa·Suttaṁ’ (Vekhanassa is a wanderer’s name), The Buddha also explains: ‘If any, Kaccāna, ascetics and brahmins, without knowing the past, without seeing the future, claim “Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming into any state of being,” such with this, in accordance with the Dhamma, are confuted.’

[81] S.III.I.i.5

[82] For details see ‘How You Discern Your Future’, p.191, and Table 1d ‘Death and Rebirth’, p.188.

[83] DhP.A.xi.9 ‘Mahādhana·Seṭṭhi·Putta·Vatthu’ (‘The Case of Mahādhana the Lord-Son’)

[84] VsM.xvii.659 ‘Bhava·Cakka·Kathā’ (‘The Wheel of Existence Discussion’) PP.xvii.314: the quotation is from D.ii.2 ‘Mahā·Nidāna·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Great Causation Sutta’).

[85] This passage is quoted and analysed p.79.

[86] VsM.xix.679 ‘Paccaya·Pariggaha·Kathā’ (‘Cause-Apprehending Discussion’) PP.xix.5

[87] For the discernment of dependent origination/cessation, and past and future mentality/materiality, see Talk 6 ‘How You See the Links of Dependent Origination’, p.183ff.

[88] For dhammas, see footnote 22, p.5.

[89] S.III.I.II.i.7

[90] The commentary to the ‘Chann·Ovāda·Suttaṁ’ (‘The Advice-to-Channa Sutta’); M.III.v.2) explains that ‘This is not mine’ is a reflection on impermanence; ‘This I am not’ is a reflection on suffering; ‘This is not my self’ is a reflection on non-self.

[91] SuN.v.15 ‘Mogharāja·Māṇava·Pucchā’ (‘The Student Mogharāja’s Questions’), quoted VsM.xxi.765 ‘Saṅkhār·Upekkhā·Ñāṇa·Kathā’ (‘Equanimity-Towards-Formations-Know-ledge Discussion’) PP.xxi.60.

[92] Further to the perception of voidness, see also Q&A 5.9, p.181.

[93] For a discussion of the inevitable full awareness at the realization of Nibbāna, see Q&A 3.2, p.97.

[94] For the realization of Nibbāna, see ‘You Know and See Nibbāna’, p.224.

[95] S.V.XII.v.4 ‘The Peaked-House Sutta’.


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