is the day on which we Buddhists come together to observe the
Uposatha  precepts and listen to
the Dhamma, as is our custom. The point of listening to the Dhamma
is firstly to create some understanding of the things we don't yet
understand, to clarify them, and secondly, to improve our grasp of
the things we understand already. We must rely on Dhamma talks to
improve our understanding, and listening is the crucial factor.
For today's talk
please pay special attention, first of all straightening up your
posture to make it suitable for listening. Don't be too tense. Now,
all that remains is to establish your minds, making your minds firm
in samadhi. The mind is the important ingredient. The mind is that
which perceives good and evil, right and wrong. If we are lacking in
sati for even one minute, we are crazy for that minute; if we are
lacking in sati for half an hour we will be crazy for half an hour.
However much our mind is lacking in sati, that's how crazy we are.
That's why it's especially important to pay attention when listening
to the Dhamma.
All creatures in
this world are plagued by nothing other than suffering. There is
only suffering disturbing the mind. Studying the Dhamma is for the
purpose of utterly destroying this suffering. If suffering arises
it's because we don't really know it. No matter how much we try to
control it through will power, or through wealth and possessions, it
is impossible. If we don't thoroughly understand suffering and its
cause, no matter how much we try to "trade it off" with our deeds,
thoughts or worldly riches, there's no way we can do so. Only
through clear knowledge and awareness, through knowing the truth of
it, can suffering disappear. And this applies not only to homeless
ones, the monks and novices, but also to householders: for anybody
who knows the truth of things, suffering automatically ceases.
Now the states of
good and evil are constant truths. Dhamma means that which is
constant, which maintains itself. Turmoil maintains its turmoil,
serenity maintains its serenity. Good and evil maintain their
respective conditions -- like hot water: it maintains its hotness,
it doesn't change for anybody. Whether a young person or an old
person drink it, it's hot. It's hot for every nationality of people.
So Dhamma is defined as that which maintains its condition. In our
practice we must know heat and coolness, right and wrong, good and
evil. Knowing evil, for example, we will not create the causes for
evil, and evil will not arise.
should know the source of the various dhammas. By quelling the cause
of heat, heat cannot arise. The same with evil: it arises from a
cause. If we practice the Dhamma till we know the Dhamma, we will
know the source of things, their causes. If we extinguish the cause
of evil, evil is also extinguished, we don't have to go running
after evil to put it out.
This is the practice
of Dhamma. But many are those who study the Dhamma, learn it, even
practice it, but who are not yet with the Dhamma, and who have not
yet quenched the cause of evil and turmoil within their own hearts.
As long as the cause of heat is still present, we can't possibly
prevent heat from being there. In the same way, as long as the cause
of confusion is within our minds, we cannot possibly prevent
confusion from being there, because it arises from this source. As
long as the source is not quenched, confusion will arise again.
Whenever we create
good actions goodness arises in the mind. It arises from its cause.
This is called kusala.  If we
understand causes in this way, we can create those causes and the
results will naturally follow.
But people don't
usually create the right causes. They want goodness so much, and yet
they don't work to bring it about. All they get are bad results,
embroiling the mind in suffering. All people want these days is
money. They think that is they just get enough money everything will
be alright; so they spend all their time looking for money, they
don't look for goodness. This is like wanting meat, but not wanting
salt to preserve it: you just leave the meat around the house to
rot. Those who want money should know not only how to find it, but
also how to look after it. If you want meat, you can't expect to buy
it and then just leave it laying around in the house. It'll just go
rotten. This kind of thinking is wrong. The result of wrong thinking
is turmoil and confusion. The Buddha taught the Dhamma so that
people would put it into practice, in order to know it and see it,
and to be one with it, to make the mind Dhamma. When the mind is
Dhamma it will attain happiness and contentment. The restlessness of
samsara is in this world, and the cessation of suffering is also in
The practice of
Dhamma is therefore for leading the mind to the transcendence of
suffering. The body can't transcend suffering -- having been born it
must experience pain and sickness, aging and death. Only the mind
can transcend clinging and grasping. All the teachings of the
Buddha, which we call pariyatti, 
are a skillful means to this end. For instance, the Buddha taught
about upadinnakasankhara and anupadinnakasankhara -- mind-attended
conditions and non-mind- attended conditions. Non-mind-attended
conditions are usually defined as such things as trees, mountains,
rivers and so on -- inanimate things. Mind-attended conditions are
defined as animate things -- animals, human beings and so on. Most
students of Dhamma take this definition for granted, but if you
consider the matter deeply, how the human mind gets so caught up in
sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, and mental states, you
might see that really there isn't anything which is not
mind-attended. As long as there is craving in the mind everything
Studying the Dhamma
without practicing it, we will be unaware of its deeper meanings.
For instance, we might think that the pillars of this meeting hall,
the tables, benches and all inanimate things are "not
mind-attended." We only look at one side of things. But just try
getting a hammer and smashing some of these things and you'll see
whether they're mind-attended or not!
It's our own mind,
clinging to the tables, chairs and all of our possessions, which
attends these things. Even when one little cup breaks it hurts,
because our mind is "attending" that cup. Be they trees, mountains
or whatever, whatever we feel to be ours, they have a mind attending
them -- if not their own then someone else's. These are all
"mind-attended conditions," not "non-mind-attended."
It's the same for
our body. Normally we would say that the body is mind-attended. The
"mind" which attends the body is none other than upadana, clinging,
latching onto the body and clinging to it as being "me" and "mine."
Just as a blind man
cannot conceive of colors -- no matter where he looks, no colors can
be seen -- just so for the mind blocked by craving and delusion, all
objects of consciousness become mind-attended. For the mind tainted
with craving and obstructed by delusion, everything becomes
mind-attended... tables, chairs, animals and everything else. If we
understand that there is an intrinsic self, the mind attaches to
everything. All of nature becomes mind-attended, there is always
clinging and attachment.
The Buddha talked
about sankhata dhammas and asankhata dhammas -- conditioned and
unconditioned things. Conditioned things are innumerable -- material
or immaterial, big or small -- if our mind is under the influence of
delusion, it will proliferate about these things, dividing them up
into good and bad, short and long, coarse and refined. Why does the
mind proliferate like this? Because it doesn't know determined
reality,  it doesn't see the
Dhamma. Not seeing the Dhamma, the mind is full of clinging. As long
as the mind is held down by clinging there can be no escape, there
is confusion, birth, old age, sickness and death, even in the
thinking processes. This kind of mind is called the sankhata dhamma
the unconditioned, refers to the mind which has seen the Dhamma, the
truth, of the Five Khandhas as they are -- as Transient, Imperfect
and Ownerless. All ideas of "me" and "them," "mine" and "theirs,"
belong to the determined reality. Really they are all conditions.
When we know the truth of conditions, as neither ourselves nor
belonging to us, we let go of conditions and the determined. When we
let go of conditions we attain the Dhamma, we enter into and realize
the Dhamma. When we attain the Dhamma we know clearly. What do we
know? We know that there are only conditions and determinations, no
being, no self, no "us" nor "them." This is knowledge of the way
Seeing in this way
the mind transcends things. The body may grow old, get sick and die,
but the mind transcends this state. When the mind transcends
conditions, it knows the unconditioned. the mind becomes the
unconditioned, the state which no longer contains conditioning
factors. The mind is no longer conditioned by the concerns of the
world, conditions no longer contaminate the mind. Pleasure and pain
no longer affect it. Nothing can affect the mind or change it, the
mind is assured, it has escaped all constructions. Seeing the true
nature of conditions and the determined, the mind becomes free.
This freed mind is
called the Unconditioned, that which is beyond the power of
constructing influences. If the mind doesn't really know conditions
and determinations, it is moved by them. Encountering good, bad,
pleasure, or pain, it proliferates about them. Why does it
proliferate? Because there is still a cause. What is the cause? The
cause is the understanding that the body is one's self or belongs to
the self; that feelings are self or belonging to self; that
perception is self or belonging to self; that conceptual thought is
self or belonging to self; that consciousness is self or belonging
to self. The tendency to conceive things in terms of self is the
source of happiness, suffering, birth, old age, sickness and death.
This is the worldly mind, spinning around and changing at the
directives of worldly conditions. This is the conditioned mind.
If we receive some
windfall our mind is conditioned by it. That object influences our
mind into a feeling of pleasure, but when it disappears, our mind is
conditioned by it into suffering. The mind becomes a slave of
conditions, a slave of desire. No matter what the world presents to
it, the mind is moved accordingly. This mind has no refuge, it is
not yet assured of itself, not yet free. It is still lacking a firm
base. This mind doesn't yet know the truth of conditions. Such is
the conditioned mind.
All of you listening
to the Dhamma here, reflect for a while...even a child can make you
get angry, isn't that so? Even a child can trick you. He could trick
you into crying, laughing -- he could trick you into all sorts of
things. Even old people get duped by these things. For a deluded
person who doesn't know the truth of conditions, they are always
shaping the mind into countless reactions, such as love, hate,
pleasure and pain. They shape our minds like this because we are
enslaved by them. We are slaves of tanha, craving. Craving gives all
the orders, and we simply obey.
I hear people
complaining..."Oh, I'm so miserable. Night and day I have to go to
the fields, I have no time at home. In the middle of the day I have
to work in the hot sun with no shade. No matter how cold it is I
can't stay at home, I have to go to work. I'm so oppressed."
If I ask them, "Why
don't you just leave home and become a monk?", they say, "I can't
leave, I have responsibilities." Tanha pulls them back. Sometimes
when you're doing the plowing you might be bursting to urinate so
much you just have to do it while you're plowing, like the
buffaloes! This is how much craving enslaves them.
When I ask, "How are
you going? Haven't you got time to come to the monastery?", they
say, "Oh, I'm really in deep." I don't know what it is they're stuck
in so deeply! These are just conditions, concoctions. The Buddha
taught to see appearances as such, to see conditions as they are.
This is seeing the Dhamma, seeing things as they really are. If you
really see these two things then you must throw them out, let them
No matter what you
may receive it has no real substance. At first it may seem good, but
it will eventually go bad. It will make you love and make you hate,
make you laugh and cry, make you go whichever way it pulls you. Why
is this? Because the mind is undeveloped. Conditions become
conditioning factors of the mind, making it big and small, happy and
In the time of our
forefathers, when a person died they would invite the monks to go
and recite the recollections on impermanence: Anicca vata sankhara /
Uppadavaya dhammino / Uppajjitva nirujjhan'ti / Tesam vupasamo sukho
 -- All conditions are impermanent.
The body and the mind are both impermanent. They are impermanent
because they do not remain fixed and unchanging. All things that are
born must necessarily change, they are transient -- especially our
body. What is there that doesn't change within this body? Hair,
nails, teeth, skin... are they still the same as they used to be?
The condition of the body is constantly changing, so it is
impermanent. Is the body stable? Is the mind stable? Think about it.
How many times is there arising and ceasing even in one day? Both
body and mind are constantly arising and ceasing, conditions are in
a state of constant turmoil.
The reason you can't
see these things in line with the truth is because you keep
believing the untrue. It's like being guided by a blind man. How can
you travel in safety? A blind man will only lead you into forests
and thickets. How could he lead you to safety when he can't see? In
the same way our mind is deluded by conditions, creating suffering
in the search for happiness, creating difficulty in the search for
ease. Such a mind only makes for difficulty and suffering. Really we
want to get rid of suffering and difficulty, but instead we create
those very things. All we can do is complain. We create bad causes,
and the reason we do is because we don't know the truth of
appearances and conditions.
impermanent, both the mind-attended ones and the non-mind-attended.
In practice, the non-mind-attended conditions are non-existent. What
is there that is not mind- attended? Even your own toilet, which you
would think would be non-mind-attended...try letting someone smash
it with a sledge hammer! He would probably have to contend with the
"authorities." The mind attends everything, even feces and urine.
Except for the person who sees clearly the way things are, there are
no such things as non-mind-attended conditions.
determined into existence. Why must we determine them? Because they
don't intrinsically exist. For example, suppose somebody wanted to
make a marker. He would take a piece of wood or a rock and place it
on the ground, and then call it a marker. Actually it's not a
marker. There isn't any marker, that's why you must determine it
into existence. In the same way we "determine" cities, people,
cattle -- everything! Why must we determine these things? Because
originally they do not exist.
Concepts such as
"monk" and "layperson" are also "determinations." We determine these
things into existence because intrinsically they aren't here. It's
like having an empty dish -- you can put anything you like into it
because it's empty. This is the nature of determined reality. Men
and women are simply determined concepts, as are all the things
If we know the truth
of determinations clearly, we will know that there are no beings,
because "beings" are determined things. Understanding that these
things are simply determinations, you can be at peace. But if you
believe that the person, being, the "mine," the "theirs," and so on
are intrinsic qualities, then you must laugh and cry over them.
These are the proliferation of conditioning factors. If we take such
things to be ours there will always be suffering. This is
micchaditthi, Wrong View. Names are not intrinsic realities, they
are provisional truths. Only after we are born do we obtain names,
isn't that so? Or did you have your name already when you were born?
The name comes afterwards, right? Why must we determine these names?
Because intrinsically they aren't there.
We should clearly
understand these determinations. Good, evil, high, low, black and
white are all determinations. We are all lost in determinations.
This is why at the funeral ceremonies the monks chant, Anicca vata
sankhara... Conditions are impermanent, they arise and pass way.
That's the truth. What is there that, having arisen, doesn't cease?
Good moods arise and then cease. Have you ever seen anybody cry for
three or four years? At the most, you may see people crying a whole
night, and then the tears dry up. Having arisen, they cease...
Tesam vupasamo sukho...
 If we understand sankharas,
proliferations, and thereby subdue them, this is the greatest
happiness. This is true merit, to be calmed of proliferations,
calmed of "being," calmed of individuality, of the burden of self.
Transcending these things one sees the Unconditioned. This means
that no matter what happens, the mind doesn't proliferate around it.
There's nothing that can throw the mind off its natural balance.
What else could you want? This is the end, the finish.
The Buddha taught
the way things are. Our making offerings and listening to Dhamma
talks and so on is in order to search for and realize this. If we
realize this, we don't have to go and study vipassana (insight
meditation), it will happen of itself. Both samatha (calm) and
vipassana are determined into being, just like other determinations.
The mind which knows, which is beyond such things, is the
culmination of the practice.
Our practice, our
inquiry, is in order to transcend suffering. When clinging is
finished with, states of being are finished with. When states of
being are finished with, there is no more birth or death. When
things are going badly, the mind does not rejoice, and when things
are going badly, the mind does not grieve. The mind is not dragged
all over the place by the tribulations of the world, and so the
practice is finished. This is the basic principle for which the
Buddha gave the teaching.
The Buddha taught
the Dhamma for use in our lives. Even when we die there is the
teaching Tesam vupasamo sukho...but we don't subdue these
conditions, we only carry them around, as if the monks were telling
us to do so. We carry them around and cry over them. This is getting
lost in conditions. Heaven, Hell and nibbana are all to be found at
Dhamma is in order to transcend suffering in the mind. If we know
the truth of things as I've explained here we will automatically
know the Four Noble Truths -- Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the
Cessation of Suffering and the Way leading to the Cessation of
People are generally
ignorant when it comes to determinations, they think they all exist
of themselves. When the books tell us that trees, mountains and
rivers are non-mind-attended conditions, this is simplifying things.
This is just the superficial teaching, there's no reference to
suffering, as if there was no suffering in the world. This is just
the shell of Dhamma. If we were to explain things in terms of
ultimate truth, we would see that it's people who go and tie all
these things down with their attachments. How can you say that
things have no power to shape events, that they are not
mind-attended, when people will beat their children even over one
tiny needle? One single plate or cup, a plank of wood... the mind
attends all these things. Just watch what happens if someone goes
and smashes one of them up and you'll find out. Everything is
capable of influencing us in this way. Knowing these things fully is
our practice, examining those things which are conditioned,
unconditioned, mind-attended, and non-mind-attended.
This is part of the
"external teaching," as the Buddha once referred to them. At one
time the Buddha was staying in a forest. Taking a handful of leaves,
He asked the bhikkhus, "Bhikkhus, which is the greater number, the
leaves I hold in my hand or the leaves scattered over the forest
answered, "The leaves in the Blessed One's hand are few, the leaves
scattered around the forest floor are by far the greater number."
"In the same way,
bhikkhus, the whole of the Buddha's teaching is vast, but these are
not the essence of things, they are not directly related to the way
out of suffering. There are so many aspects to the Teaching, but
what the Tathagata really wants you to do is to transcend suffering,
to inquire into things and abandon clinging and attachment to form,
feeling, perception, volition and consciousness." 
Stop clinging to these things and you will transcend suffering.
These teachings are like the leaves in the Buddha's hand. You don't
need so much, just a little is enough. As for the rest of the
Teaching, you needn't worry yourselves over it. It is just like the
vast earth, abundant with grasses, soil, mountains, forests. There's
no shortage of rocks and pebbles, but all those rocks are not as
valuable as one single jewel. The Dhamma of the Buddha is like this,
you don't need a lot.
So whether you are
talking about the Dhamma or listening to it, you should know the
Dhamma. You needn't wonder where the Dhamma is, it's right here. No
matter where you go to study the Dhamma, it is really in the mind.
The mind is the one who clings, the mind is the one who speculates,
the mind is the one who transcends, who lets go. All this external
study is really about the mind. No matter if you study the Tipitaka,
 the Abhidhamma 
or whatever, don't forget where it came from.
When it comes to the
practice, the only things you really need to make a start are
honesty and integrity, you don't need to make a lot of trouble for
yourself. None of you laypeople have studied the Tipitaka, but you
are still capable of greed, anger and delusion, aren't you? Where
did you learn about these things from? Did you have to read the
Tipitaka or the Abhidhamma to have greed, hatred and delusion? Those
things are already there in your mind, you don't have to study books
to have them. But the Teachings are for inquiring into and
abandoning these things.
Let the knowing
spread from within you and you will be practicing rightly. If you
want to see a train, just go the central station, you don't have to
go traveling all the way up the Northern line, the Southern Line,
the Eastern Line and the Western Line to see all the trains. If you
want to see trains, every single one of them, you'd be better off
waiting at Grand Central Station, that's where they all terminate.
Now some people tell
me, "I want to practice but I don't know how. I'm not up to studying
the scriptures, I'm getting old now, my memory's not good..." Just
look right here, at "Central Station." Greed arises here, anger
arises here, delusion arises here. Just sit here and you can watch
as all these things arise. Practice right here, because right here
is where you're stuck. Right here is where the determined arises,
where conventions arise, and right here is where the Dhamma will
practice of Dhamma doesn't distinguish between class or race, all it
asks is that we look into, see and understand. At first, we train
the body and speech to be free of taints, which is sila. Some people
think that to have sila you must memorize Pali phrases and chant all
day and all night, but really all you have to do is make your body
and speech blameless, and that's sila. It's not so difficult to
understand, just like cooking food... put in a little bit of this
and a little bit of that, till it's just right...and it's delicious!
You don't have to add anything else to make it delicious, it's
delicious already, if only you add the right ingredients. In the
same way, taking care that our actions and speech are proper will
give us sila.
Dhamma practice can
be done anywhere. In the past I traveled all over looking for a
teacher because I didn't know how to practice. I was always afraid
that I was practicing wrongly. I'd be constantly going from one
mountain to another, from one place to another, until I stopped and
reflected on it. Now I understand. In the past I must have been
quite stupid, I went all over the place looking for places to
practice meditation -- I didn't realize it was already there, in my
heart. All the meditation you want is right there inside you. There
is birth, old age, sickness, death right here within you. that's why
the Buddha said Paccatam veditabbo vii: The wise must know for
themselves. I'd said the words before but I still didn't know their
meaning. I traveled all over looking for it until I was ready to
drop dead from exhaustion -- only then, when I stopped, did I find
what I was looking for, inside of me. So now I can tell you about
So in your practice
of sila, just practice as I've explained here. Don't doubt the
practice. Even though some people may say you can't practice at
home, that there are too many obstacles...if that's the case then
even eating and drinking are going to be obstacles. If these things
are obstacles to practice then don't eat! If you stand on a thorn,
is that good? Isn't not standing on a thorn better? Dhamma practice
brings benefit to all people, irrespective of class. However much
you practice, that's how much you will know the truth.
Some people say they
can't practice as a lay person, the environment is too crowded. If
you live in a crowded place, then look into crowdedness, make it
open and wide. The mind has been deluded by crowdedness, train it to
know the truth of crowdedness. The more you neglect the practice,
the more you neglect going to the monastery and listening to the
teaching, the more your mind will sink down into the bog, like a
frog going into a hole. Someone comes along with a hook and the
frog's done for, he doesn't have a chance. All he can do is stretch
out his neck and offer it to them. So watch out you don't work
yourself into a tiny corner -- someone may just come along with a
hook and scoop you up. At home, being pestered by your children and
grandchildren, you are even worse off than the frog! You don't know
how to detach from these things. When old age, sickness and death
come along, what will you do? This is the hook that's going to get
you. Which way will you turn?
This is the
predicament our minds are in. Engrossed in the children, the
relatives, the possessions...and you don't know how to let them go.
Without morality or understanding to free things up there is no way
out for you. When feeling, perception, volition and consciousness
produce suffering you always get caught up in it. Why is there this
suffering? If you don't investigate you won't know. If happiness
arises you simply get caught up in happiness, delighting in it. You
don't ask yourself, "where does this happiness come from?'
So change your
understanding. You can practice anywhere because the mind is with
you everywhere. If you think good thoughts while sitting, you can be
aware of them; if you think bad thoughts you can be aware of them
also. These things are with you. While lying down, if you think good
thoughts or bad thoughts, you can know them also, because the place
to practice is in the mind. Some people think you have to go to the
monastery every single day. That's not necessary, just look at your
own mind. If you know where the practice is you'll be assured.
teaching tells us to watch ourselves, not to run after fads and
superstitious. That's why he said, Silena sugatim yanti, Silena
bhogasampada, Silena nibbutim yanti, Tasma silam visodhaye: 
Sila refers to our actions. Good actions bring good results, bad
actions bring bad results. Don't expect the gods to do things for
you, or the angels and guardian deities to protect you, or the
auspicious days to help you. These things aren't true, don't believe
in them. If you believe in them you will suffer. You'll always be
waiting for the right day, the right month, the right year, the
angels and guardian deities...you'll suffer that way. Look into your
own actions and speech, into your own kamma. Doing good you inherit
goodness, doing bad you inherit badness.
If you understand
that good and bad, right and wrong all lie within you, then you
won't have to go looking for those things somewhere else. Just look
for these things where they arise. If you lose something here, you
must look for it here. Even if you don't find it at first, keep
looking where you dropped it. But usually, we lose it here then go
looking over there. When will you ever find it? Good and bad actions
lie within you. One day you're bound to see it, just keep looking
All beings fare
according to their kamma. What is kamma? People are too gullible. If
you do bad actions, they say Yama, the King of the Underworld, will
write it all down in a book. When you go there he takes out his
accounts and looks you up...You're all afraid of the Yama in the
after-life, but you don't know the Yama within your own minds. If
you do bad actions, even if you sneak off and do it by yourself,
this Yama will write it all down. Among you people sitting here and
there are probably many who have secretly done bad things, not
letting anyone else see. But you see it don't you? This Yama sees it
all. Can you see it for yourself? All of you, think for a while...
Yama has written it all down, hasn't he? There's no way you can
escape it. Whether you do it alone or in a group, in a field or
Is there anybody
here who has ever stolen something? There are probably a few of us
who are ex-thieves. Even if you don't steal other people's things
you still may steal your own. I myself have that tendency, that's
why I reckon some of you may be the same. Maybe you have secretly
done bad things in the past, not letting anyone else know about it.
But even if you don't tell anyone else about it, you must know about
it. This is the Yama who watches over you and writes it all down.
Wherever you go he writes it all down in his account book. We know
our own intention. When you do bad actions badness is there, if you
do good actions, goodness is there. There's nowhere you can go to
hide. Even if others don't see you, you must see yourself. Even if
you go into a deep hole you'll still find yourself. Even if you go
into a deep hole you'll still find yourself there. There's no way
you can commit bad actions and get away with it. In the same way,
why shouldn't you see your own purity? You see it all -- the
peaceful, the agitated, the liberation or the bondage -- we see all
these for ourselves.
In this Buddhist
religion you must be aware of all your actions. We don't act like
the Brahmins, who go into your house and say, "May you be well and
strong, may you live long." The Buddha doesn't talk like that. How
will the disease go away with just talk? The Buddha's way of
treating the sick was to say, "Before you were sick what happened?
What led up to your sickness?" Then you tell him how it came about.
"Oh, it's like that, is it? Take this medicine and try it out." If
it's not the right medicine he tries another one. If it's right for
the illness, then that's the right one. This way is scientifically
sound. As for the Brahmins, they just tie a string around your wrist
and say, "Okay, be well, be strong, when I leave this place you just
get right on up and eat a hearty meal and be well." No matter how
much you pay them, your illness won't go away, because their way has
no scientific basis. But this is what people like to believe.
The Buddha didn't
want us to put too much store in these things, he wanted us to
practice with reason. Buddhism has been around for thousands of
years now, and most people have continued to practice as their
teachers have taught them, regardless of whether it's right or
wrong. That's stupid. They simply follow the example of their
The Buddha didn't
encourage this sort of thing. He wanted us to do things with reason.
For example, at one time when he was teaching the monks, he asked
Venerable Sariputta, "Sariputta, do you believe this teaching?
Venerable Sariputta replied, "I don't yet believe it." The Buddha
praised his answer: "Very good, Sariputta. A wise person doesn't
believe too readily. He looks into things, into their causes and
conditions, and sees their true nature before believing or
But most teachers
these days would say, "What?!!! You don't believe me? Get out of
here!" Most people are afraid of their teachers. Whatever their
teachers do they just blindly follow. The Buddha taught to adhere to
the truth. Listen to the teaching and then consider it
intelligently, inquire into it. It's the same with my dhamma talks
-- go and consider it. Is what I say right? Really look into it,
look within yourself.
So it is said to
guard your mind. Whoever guards his mind will free himself from the
shackles of Mara. It's just this mind which goes and grabs onto
things, know things, sees things, experiences happiness and
suffering... just this very mind. When we fully know the truth of
determinations and conditions we will naturally throw off suffering.
All things are just
as they are. They don't cause suffering in themselves, just like a
thorn, a really sharp thorn. Does it make you suffer? No, it's just
a thorn, it doesn't bother anybody. But if you go and stand on it,
then you'll suffer. Why is there this suffering? Because you stepped
on the thorn. The thorn is just minding its own business, it doesn't
harm anybody. Only if you step on the thorn will you suffer over it.
It's because of we ourselves that there's pain. Form, feeling,
perception, volition, consciousness... all things in this world are
simply there as they are. It's we who pick fights with them. And if
we hit them they're going to hit us back. If they're left on their
own they won't bother anybody, only the swaggering drunkard gives
them trouble. All conditions fare according to their nature. That's
why the Buddha said, Tesam vupasamo sukho: If we subdue conditions,
seeing determinations and conditions as they really are, as neither
"me" nor "mine," "us" nor "them," when we see that these beliefs are
simply sakkayaditthi, the conditions are freed of the self-delusion.
If you think "I'm
good," "I'm bad," "I'm great," "I'm the best," then you are thinking
wrongly. If you see all these thoughts as merely determinations and
conditions, then when others say, "good" or "bad" you can leave it
be with them. As long as you still see it as "me" and "you" it's
like having three hornets nests -- as soon as you say something the
hornets come buzzing out to sting you. The three hornets nests are
sakkayaditthi, viccikiccha, and silabbataparamasa. 
Once you look into
the true nature of determinations and conditions, pride cannot
prevail. Other people's fathers are just like our father, their
mothers are just like ours, their children are just like ours. We
see the happiness and suffering of other beings as just like ours.
If we see in this
way we can come face to face with the future Buddha, it's not so
difficult. Everyone is in the same boat. Then the world will be as
smooth as a drumskin. If you want to wait around to meet Phra Sri
Ariya Mettiya, the future Buddha, then just don't practice... you'll
probably be around long enough to see him. But He's not crazy that
he'd take people like that for disciples! Most people just doubt. If
you no longer doubt about the self, then no matter what people may
say about you, you aren't concerned, because your mind has let go,
it is at peace. Conditions become subdued. Grasping after the forms
of practice... that teacher is bad, that place is no good, this is
right, that's wrong ... No. There's none of these things. All this
kind of thinking is all smoothed over. You come face to face with
the future Buddha. Those who only hold up their hands and pray will
never get there.
So here is the
practice. If I talked any more it would just be more of the same.
Another talk would just be the same as this. I've brought you this
far, now you think about it. I've brought you to the path, whoever's
going to go, it's there for you. Those who aren't going can stay.
The Buddha only sees you to the beginning of the path. Akkhataro
Tathagata -- the Tathagata only points the way. For my practice he
only taught this much. The rest was up to me. Now I teach you, I can
tell you just this much. I can bring you only to the beginning of
the path, whoever wants to go back can go back, whoever wants to
travel on can travel on. It's up to you, now.
Uposatha, or Observance, days, are the days on which practicing
Buddhists usually go to the monastery to practice meditation, listen
to a Dhamma talk and keep the eight uposatha precepts -- To refrain
from killing, stealing, all sexual activity, lying, taking
intoxicants, eating food after midday, enjoying entertainments and
dressing up, and sitting or sleeping on luxurious seats or beds.
Kusala: wholesome or skillful actions or mental states.
Pariyatti, the teachings as laid down in the scriptures, or as
passed down from one person to another in some form or another; the
"theoretical" aspect of Buddhism. "Pariyatti" is often referred to
in reference to two other aspects of Buddhism -- Patipatti, the
practice, and Pativedhi, the realization. Thus: Study -- Practice --
Sammutti sacca, a difficult term to translate. It refers to the
dualistic, or nominal reality, the reality of names, determinations.
For instance, a cup is not intrinsically a cup, it is only
determined to be so.
Impermanent are all conditioned things, / Of the nature to arise and
pass away / Having been born, they all must perish / The cessation
of conditions is true happiness.
"Cessation is true happiness," or "the calming of conditions is true
The Five Khandhas.
The Buddhist Pali Canon.
The third of the "Three Baskets," the Tipitaka, being the section on
the higher philosophy of Buddhism.
Moral rectitude leads to well being, leads to wealth, leads to
nibbana. Therefore, maintain your precepts purely" -- a Pali phrase
said at the end the traditional giving of the precepts.
Self view, doubt, and attachment to rites and practices.