17 May 2014

Guided Vipassana Insight Meditation Sermon Delivered on 31st July 2012 (Part Two)

Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara

Guided Vipassana Insight Meditation Sermon
Delivered at ThaBarWa Centre (Thanlyin)

31st July 2012 

Part Two 

In order to develop and attain real or genuine mindfulness, effort, concentration, thinking, analyzing and understanding, one needs to abandon placing central emphasis on those created mindfulness, effort and concentration.

One has high tolerance or patience does not necessarily mean that one is, by nature, totally free from dosa (anger).  It is merely an attained one, created one and not original.  Let me explain. 

When one is confronting with the circumstances which triggers his anger or frustration, in order to cover up that particular ugly state of mind, one will automatically create and utilize one's patience or endurance or tolerance power to overcome that particular situation.  That is called created endurance, created tolerance and created patience. Not original.

One attains devotion for Buddha, dhamma and sangha (Triple Gems) only when one takes refuge in the Triple Gems.  Similarly, when one meets or runs into elders, one would create respects for the elders in that very moment. 

By nature, worldings are not free from pride and ego.  However, worldings have ability and capability to create variety of mind (mental conditions) depending on the time, place, circumstances and switch to those created mind instantly (utilize the created mind) to fit into the particular circumstances.  That is called kamma cause....a created mind....created mental condition. 

Likewise, the mindfulness, effort and concentration that one knows are also created mindfulness, effort and concentration.  They are being created to fit into various circumstances and encounters.  They are not real or genuine mindfulness, effort and concentration born out of one's ability in abandoning said created mindfulness, effort and concentration.

Mindfulness, which one knows or possess is also created mindfulness.  The mindfulness which one utilizes depending on place, time, situation and circumstances is also called created mindfulness. 

Abandoning paying central emphasis on created mindfulness, effort, concentration and striving oneself free from those created mindfulness, effort and concentration is true dhamma.

Likewise, one needs to strive one's very best to attain  .....
-      real or genuine mindfulness and effort which can abandon placing emphasis on created mindfulness and effort,
-      real or genuine concentration which can abandon placing emphasis on created concentration,
-      real mindfulness, effort and concentration that can abandon kamma causes, and
-      knowledge and wisdom that can abandon kamma causes.

Naturally worldings are capable of doing or carrying out kamma causes such as thinking this and that, contemplating on this and that, concentrating on this and that but lacks the ability in abandoning placing emphasis on those kamma causes or created actions.

Only when one strives very persistently in abandoning placing central emphasis on created mindfulness, effort and concentration on things, time, places, circumstances, one would realize the true Dhamma which is the one and only Magga Path (Ariya Path).....abandoning mental action, abandoning endeavours of mind, abandoning habitual utilization of mind and abandoning norms of mind.

It is so easy to use mind on usual and habitual tasks such as placing mindfulness on something, using effort to do something, placing concentration on something, somebody, time and place.

But, attaining real or genuine mindfulness, effort and concentration is difficult.  One needs the help of Buddha, dhamma and sangha if one wishes to abandon placing emphasis on created mindfulness, effort and concentration.

One needs to put in one's best effort and place central emphasis on mindfulness and concentration if one determines to abandon :
-      the mindfulness which one had already attained,
-      the mindfulness which one is automatically endowed with,
-      the mindfulness which one is striving hard to attain as well as
-      the mindfulness, effort and concentration which one is automatically endowed with.

Placing central emphasis on created mindfulness is far easier than abandoning those created mindfulness, effort and mental action which one has already endowed with.

Worldings already have created concentration for carrying out their tasks or endeavours.  However, attaining real or genuine concentration is so much more difficult so one needs to put in one's best mindfulness, effort and concentration and contemplates persistently on it.

The teaching is over now.

May all the merits we have done until now be dedicated to all sentient being.

May all beings rejoice in our merits.


13 May 2014

Guided Vipassana Insight Meditation Sermon Delivered on 31st July 2012 (Part One)

Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara

Guided Vipassana Insight Meditation Sermon
Delivered at ThaBarWa Centre (Thanlyin)

31st July 2012 

Part One

Kamma causes (actions or intention of an act) are for doing only and using only.  Kaya-kamma (physical action) means all movements of the body or parts of the body, Vaci-kamma (oral or verbal action) means all verbal expressions and Mano-kamma (mental action) is the functioning of the mind. 

As long as one is using one's mind, it is called mental action.  As long as one is using one's body, it is called physical action.

-  Using visual objects, voice and language are kamma cause. 
-  Using taste, feeling and thinking are kamma cause.
-  Using eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind, visual objects, sound, smell, taste and feeling are also kamma cause.
-   Technology is kamma result (effect). 
-   Using technology can be called kamma cause.
-   Using time, place and life are also kamma cause.

Staying idle or not doing anything physically, mentally or verbally does not necessarily means eradicating the root-cause of those kamma actions. It is not the correct way.  It is not sufficient.

Eradicating the root cause does not necessarily imply merely abandoning of one's kamma cause such as doing or not doing anything.  Though one needs to abandon physical action, verbal action and mental action, it is insufficient to just abandoning them in that way.

 One needs to center their utmost abilities to carry out :
-      Dana, which is the ability that can use all living and nonliving things as abandoning purpose,
-      Sila, abandoning power to all physical and oral actions,
-      Bhavana, abandoning power to all mental actions.

It does not necessarily matter whether :
-      the mind is carrying out the tasks of the mind or
-      the eyes are doing the jobs of the eyes or
-      the ears are doing the jobs of the ears or
-      the body is carrying out the tasks of the body. 

Doing the job or carrying out the tasks is not really important. 

It is more important to have ability to abandon placing central emphasis on those tasks. 

It is more important to place central emphasis on real dana, real sila and real bhavana.

Placing central emphasis on mindfulness is also mental action .... be it on purpose or automatic, all are called kamma causes. 

Eradicating the root cause means striving to abandon mind from putting mindfulness on endeavours, on purpose or automatically. 

Effort always come together with mindfulness. 

Concentration is attained through effort and mindfulness.

If one places effort and mindfulness over issues, such as health, rules and regulations, one will eventually attained concentration on these issues.

Likewise, if one places effort and mindfulness over Buddha, dhamma and sangha, one will have interests in religion, dhamma and thus one will eventually attain concentration on these subjects.

If one sets eyes on technologies or medicine and place mindfulness and effort over these subjects, one will attain concentration and eventually becomes specialist in these field.

Be it doing something or idling or doing nothing but eating and sleeping .... these actions still amount to committing kamma cause.  Whatever the conduct is, be it big or small, there is always an involvement of mindfulness, effort and concentration in it.

One needs to have knowledge, skill and expertise to carry out tasks, think and plan for his job, business and endeavours. 

Likewise, all the yogis (meditators) have faith and understanding in the method and technique of meditation that he or she is practicing; he or she will also be able to think and understand other's methods, techniques and teachings and he or she will, more or less, have mindfulness, effort and concentration on his or her method of meditation.....these are just kamma causes.

Those kamma causes such as mindfulness, effort, concentration, thinking, analyzing, understanding, all are related to mental action, superficial and created truth.  

To be continued ...

8 May 2014

True Life Experience Of Virtues Of Dhamma

True Life Experience Of Virtues Of Dhamma

Cho Cho Win
Staff Nurse (01-512190)

I am suffering from multiple life-threatening diseases such as heart, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis. I am always under constant medical treatment and care.

One day in November 2009 while I was on night duty rounds in the Intensive Care Unit  (ICU) of the General Hospital, I suddenly collapsed. My attending doctors and fellow nurses gave me emergency treatment and admitted me to ICU for observation and treatment. I was suffering terribly and felt that I was about to die. My sister who came to attend me advised that I should seek spiritual guidance in my religion (Buddhism) to help ease anxiety about my illness.

Not long after, my sister invited the most venerable Sayadaw U Ottamasara to my bedside. I respectfully paid my obeisance to Sayadaw. At that moment of time I was strapped with oxygen mask. Blood transfusion syringe was attached to my wrists. I was under a 24 hour watch due to the seriousness of my illness.

Sayadaw saw my condition and with unbounded compassion delivered sermons of Lord Buddha for contemplation to ease my anxiety.   In fact that was the first time that I had learned about the essence of Dhamma teachings. I had also understood Sayadaw’s metta and his wisdom to bless me.

Let me truthfully confess to my readers about my feelings before I met Sayadaw.  In the course of my duties as a staff nurse for 14 years, I had come across many patients with all kinds of diseases. With the will to cling to life to the last moment, they had endured the pains of the diseases, with true faith in their destiny. Eventually some recovered, and many died. 

The attending doctors and nurses tried their best to save lives and ease suffering. In the end they could not combat against death. Now I realized that I had become a patient  awaiting death and had come to contemplate the evil effects of greed (lobha), anger (dosa), delusion (moha), attachment (tanha), anxiety(soka), and the final end such evil can lead me.

Sayadaw’s teachings and guidance had eased my anxieties to a large extent. I owed my gratitude to Sayadaw for teaching me the basic principles of universal truth, and liberation from all attachments. He guided me, in that short moment to the true path of salvation. 

His discourses on Dhamma and meditation (vipassana) are very simple and easy to understand. He did not use Pali words, but spoke in simple Myanmar language. I feel that Sayadaw was saving us from evil desires and attachment and worries over our disease and sufferings.

ThaBarWa Center is truly a sanctuary for old, invalid and chronically ill persons like us. No other centre can accept such persons as Sayadaw is doing now in  Thanlyin.  He gives us food, clothes and shelter free of charge. Many volunteers attend to our needs.

In addition he guides us to the most essential Dhamma and practical meditation with metta, sympathy and compassion. Thus I enjoy peace of mind and become more confident to face life after death. I am writing this true experience to share with my readers how much Sayadaw’s metta and Dhamma has given me peace of mind and ease my sufferings. 

I pray that the ThaBarwa Centre may develop to help hopeless, helpless and abandoned poor people. I also pray that Sayadaw may be blessed with health and wisdom to guide people in the teachings of Lord Buddha and practical meditation. 

The author of this true life essay, Daw Cho Cho Win is a staff nurse employed by the Health Department of the Ministry of Health. 

Translated by Ba Than (Mahavijja)

2 May 2014

Dhamma Discussion with Korean Yogi at ThanLyin ThaBarWa Centre (Last Part)

Teaching of ThaBarWa Sayadaw U Ottamasara

Question and Answer and Dhamma Discussion
with Korean Yogi
at ThaBarWa Centre (Thanlyin)
18th October 2012

Last Part 

Korean Yogi  :  The next question ... what is the most important value in life.  If you can say there is the most important value in life, what will it be?

Sayadaw  :  The most precious and valuable thing in life for me is samma ditthi (Right View), which includes the right knowledge and the right understanding. 

As long as you have right understanding in mind, you can be able to carry out all your actions and endeavours correctly, precisely and accurately.  You will also be able to talk and utter constructive, accurate, precise, beneficial and right things.

The most important off all is the right knowledge.  As long as you have right knowledge in mind at all times, all your actions and endeavours will become right and constructive, your speech (words) will become accurate, effective and valuable.

Therefore, in order to attain and develop priceless and right knowledge in your mind, it is necessary for you to carry out constructive, worthwhile and good deeds diligently, continuously and to your utmost best without distinguishing (differentiating) whether they are for your own goods or other, for your own benefits or for others, whether they are your responsibilities or others, your problems or others, etc.

There is an urgent and immediate need to address to this crucial issue.  As such, ThaBarWa Centre is established principally to solve and address to this ... the most crucial and the most important problem and issue of us and our everyday life.  

As for ThaBarWa Centre, we are fulfilling the most crucial needs continually, persistently, dedicatedly, one by one, fulfilling the requirements of the multitude and the world round-the-clock without attachment and craving such as: oh it is the world, oh it is the worldly people, oh it is for self benefit, oh it is for general benefit, oh it is for the lokadhamma good and bad.

At ThaBarWa Centre, we also train the yogis to enhance the power for renunciation, the power for sacrifice, the power for true understanding, and the power for performing good deeds (kusala).

At the same time, we are also trying our utmost best in spreading and instigating right knowledge and understanding in the mind of the majority people.

Korean Yogi  :  This is the last question.  What is the biggest problem of ThaBarWa Centre these days and if possible, what kind of support from our side is the most needed in this centre?

Sayadaw  :  If you are talking about problems, depending on the time and circumstances, we no choice but to face and solve them, stage by stage, step by step, along the way.

As for ThaBarWa Centre, during the initial phase, we faced and overcome countless of difficulties, problems and obstacles for our long-term sustainability and resiliency.  We also faced and solved insufficient and shortage of food and nutrition.  We had somehow solved and overcame the shortage of labour and volunteers to do chores and to look after the yogis, the olds and the infirm.  The labour shortage is somehow improved compare to the past and it is no longer a big issue and problem for us now. 

Currently we are facing and confronting with the biggest problem and headache off all, even compare to the past problems, difficulties and issues ... the insufficient and shortage of accommodation ... the buildings and the hostels to accommodate the ever growing numbers of yogis, the olds and the infirm.

In the past, no so many people knew and interested in our ThaBarWa Centre.  People are not so willing to practice Insight Meditation and thus they did not know how to turn to dhamma and meditation to solve their problems.  Thus, the accommodation had never been a problem to us in the past. 

In contrast, present day people have more interests and are more willing to depend on and turn to dhamma and meditation to solve their problems and also more willing to do good deeds.  Due to this growing interests, the shortage of accommodation has been our biggest headache and problem now.

In order to solve this problem, I have been fulfilling and doing good deeds (cause) which includes continuously solving the living and accommodation difficulties of people.  Hence, I believe that, our current biggest problem, shortage of accommodation will eventually be eased off and solved as time goes by.

In life there is such thing called 'problem'.  In the same way, there is a root cause which generates (creates) the problem and on the other hand, there is also an options to solve the problem.  If you do not do the good cause which can help you solve the problem, the problem will always be remained as a problem.

As for me, I have the good understanding of the root cause of the problem.  At the same time, I also know the ways and options to solve and overcome all sorts of problems and difficulties.  I am fulfilling my obligations according to my understanding.

Like the other problems and difficulties which I had solved and overcome in the past, the current biggest problem, shortage of accommodation, insufficient supply of buildings and hostels (due to the ever increasing and growing number of people seeking refuge at ThaBarWa against the very limited fund and resources to build those buildings and hostels) will eventually be solved and eased off as time goes by.

If I have not been doing any good cause and fulfilling my obligations, the people and organisation who are helping and assisting me will not be able to solve the problems efficiently and effectively.
On the other hand, if the individuals and organisations from far and near who are interested in to do good deeds combine their efforts and resources with our merits gained from doing limitless good deeds, no matter how big and how difficult the problems and difficulties are, they will eventually be solved.

Last but not least, the biggest problem still remained to be solved is 'the problem of not understanding dhamma'.  Like any other problems which I had mentioned before, once you understand the law of cause and effect, the perceived biggest and the most difficult problem of not understanding dhamma and doing unlimited good deeds will eventually be solved.

In order to help other understand dhamma and doing unlimited good deeds, no matter how busy I am, I always make my best effort and explaining and teaching dhamma to the yogis and disciples.

Likewise, if all the yogis and disciples put their best effort in understanding dhamma and also doing good deeds, in future, there will no longer be any problems which cannot be solved.  In this way, all the problems and issues will eventually be solved as time goes by.

The end.

Video and interview by ... Korean Yogi
Translated by ... ThaBarWa Centre's Translation Team
Edited by ... Soe Win Htut

Note  :  This translation work has neither been read nor edited by the speakers.  Any mistakes and mistranslations in this project are solely the oversight and incompetency of the translator.  Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.