The Practice Which Leads To NibbŒna - PDF

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The Practice Which Leads To NibbŒna (Part 1) Pa Auk Sayadaw (Compiled and Translated by U.Dhamminda) The Practice Which Leads To NibbŒna (Part 1) Pa Auk Sayadaw (Compiled and Translated by U.Dhamminda)

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The Practice Which Leads To NibbŒna (Part 1) Pa Auk Sayadaw (Compiled and Translated by U.Dhamminda) The Practice Which Leads To NibbŒna (Part 1) Pa Auk Sayadaw (Compiled and Translated by U.Dhamminda) U Dhamminda 1998 This book belongs to the Public Domain and may be repro- duced without any further permission from the author. If you are interested in practising meditation at Pa Auk Tawya Monastery then please contact: Pa Auk Sayadaw c/o Major Kan Sain (Rtd.) 653 Lower Main Road, Mawlamyine, Myanmar or U Thet Tin 30 Myananda lane Yankin Post Office Yangon Myanmar Phone +95 (1) Contents Introduction... 1 The Development of Concentration... 1 Developing Insight... 8 Discerning Dependent Origination Sixteen Knowledges The Method Of Developing Mindfulness Of Breathing Thirty-two Parts Of The Body Skeleton Meditation White Kasiöa Ten Kasiöas The Four ArèpajhŒnas Lovingkindness Meditation (Metta BhŒvana) Compassion Meditation (KaruöŒ BhŒvana) Sympathetic Joy Meditation (MuditŒ BhŒvanŒ) Equanimity Meditation (UpekkhŒ BhŒvanŒ) Recollection Of The Qualities Of The Buddha Meditation On The Repulsiveness Of Corpses (asubha) Recollection Of Death The Four Elements Meditation Method Of Analysing Rèpa KalŒpas Theoretical Explanations For Rèpa KammaÊÊhŒna: w 1 Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammœsambuddhassa Introduction The method of practising meditation that is taught at Pa Auk Tawya Monastery is based on the explanation of meditation found in the Visuddhimagga commentary. Because of that the method involves several stages of practise which are complex, and involved. These stages include a detailed analysis of both mentality and matter according to all the categories enumerated in the Abhidhamma and the further use of this understanding to discern the process of Dependent Origination as it occurs in the Past, Present, and Future. Therefore people who are unfamiliar with the Visuddhimagga and the Abhidhamma will have difficulty in understanding and developing a clear picture of the practice of meditation at Pa Auk Tawya. For foreigners who cannot speak Burmese this problem is made even more difficult. This introduction has been written to help alleviate these difficulties by presenting a simplified example of a successful meditator's path of progress as he develops his meditation at Pa Auk Tawya. This we hope will enable you to understand a little better the more detailed sections of the book which are the actual instructions for those who are practising meditation. It also must be stressed from the beginning that this book is intended for use by people who are actually undergoing a course of meditation at the centre under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw. The Development of Concentration The meditator at Pa Auk Tawya usually begins by developing one of either two meditations: Four Elements Meditation or Mindfulness of Breathing. Either of these meditations can be used to develop concentration which is then used to investigate the nature w 2 of mind and matter (NŒma rèpa) and the causal relationships that produce and maintain them through the rounds of rebirth. If a meditator begins with Mindfulness of Breathing then he begins by being aware of the breath as it passes in and out of the nostrils. In the beginning the meditator is simply aware through the sense of touch of what the breath feels like as it enters the nose. As he continually develops his mindfulness of the breath in this way his concentration develops and he begins to actually perceive the breath as if it is a small light resting against his face. He continues to develop his concentration further until this light grows white and then becomes bright and clear like a bright star. Then as he continues to be mindful of this bright light, which is called a nimitta or sign of concentration, he eventually is able to attain fixed concentration to such an extent that his mind does not wander, but remains continuously aware of the nimitta. When the mind of the meditator is able to remain concentrated on this nimitta for one, two, or three hours then certain qualities of mind become prominent. At first there are five prominent qualities: initial application of the mind, sustained application of the mind, joy, happiness, and onepointedness of mind. When these five factors are developed to a sufficient extent then this stage of development of concentration is called the first jhœna Having attained the first jhœna the meditator could if he so wished go on to develop the various stages of understanding of mind and matter and the causal relationships that produce them which make up the practise of insight meditation. But it is better to at first develop higher levels of concentration so that when later the meditator directs his mind to the development of insight the momentum of his concentration assists in his insight practise and makes it easier to discern mind and matter, causes and effects, and produces insight knowledge which is sharper and clearer due to the strength of the light of wisdom that occurs based upon the jhœna concentration. w 3 For example it can be compared to using a flashlight to see objects in the dark. If the batteries in the flashlight are weak then you can only see objects dimly and for a short time before you have to replace your batteries, but if the batteries are strong and new then you can look at objects more clearly, in more detail, and for a longer time before you have to replace your batteries. In the same way the higher the level and stability of a meditator's concentration before he directs his mind to insight, then the more clearly he will be able to see objects and develop insight for longer before he has to return to his original concentration object to renew his concentration. For this reason it is advisable to continue in the development of concentration and get a good basis in it before moving onto insight meditation. So the usual path of practise of a meditator at Pa Auk Tawya is to continue to develop his concentration based on Mindfulness of Breathing. He then trains himself to develop progressively the second, third, and fourth jhœnas. (The method of development is described later on in this book) Having developed the fourth jhœna using Mindfulness of Breathing the meditator will notice that the mind is especially bright and emits light and he is then able to use this light to discern the 32 parts of the body and to develop the meditation based on the 32 parts of the body. He does this by first entering and arising from the fourth jhœna based on Mindfulness of Breathing and then directing his awareness to discerning the hairs of his head. With the assistance of the light emitted by the mind that has just emerged from concentration based on the fourth jhœna he is able to see clearly the hairs of the head just as if he were looking at them in a mirror. Then systematically he discerns each of the other 31 parts of the body one by one and sees them clearly in the same way. If during this process the light becomes dim and he is unable to see the parts clearly them he w 4 returns to the fourth jhœna based on Mindfulness of Breathing and having emerged from that concentration he again directs his mind towards seeing the 32 parts of the body. The 32 parts of the body are: Head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinew, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, intestine, mesentery, gorge, faeces, brain, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, grease, saliva, mucus, synovia, urine. He then returns to the fourth jhœna based on Mindfulness of Breathing and the emerging from it uses the light produced by it to assist him to discern the 32 parts of the body in a person who is sitting close to him. Thus he develops the ability to discern the 32 parts both internally in his own body and externally in the body of another individual. By practising this discernment of the 32 parts internally and externally again and again in turn the power of his concentration on the 32 parts increases and becomes strong. He can then begin to discern 32 parts of the body in other humans around him and even in animals. When a meditator has become skilled in the discerning of the 32 parts in this way both internally and externally he is then able to follow any of three ways for the further development of his concentration: 1. He can use the repulsiveness of a part to develop meditation on the repulsiveness of the body. 2. He can use the colour of a part of the body to develop as a kasiöa meditation. 3. He can analyse and discern the four elements (earth, water, fire, and air) in each part and develop Four Elements meditation. w 5 The meditator at Pa Auk Tawya is then taught the development of meditation based on bones which is one of the 32 parts of the body. He can use the perception of bones to develop the first jhœna based on repulsiveness, or he can use the white color of the bones as a kasiöa object and develop the white kasiöa to the fourth jhœna. The meditator begins to develop the meditation on bones by firstly again developing the fourth jhœna based on the Mindfulness of Breathing. Then when the light associated with that concentration is strong and brilliant he turns his awareness to the discernment of the 32 parts of the body internally. Then he discerns the 32 parts externally in a person sitting nearby. Then he selects and discerns only the bones of the skeleton that are internal. When those bones have become clear to him then he takes the repulsiveness of those bones as an object and develops that perception. He perceives them as repulsive, repulsive, repulsive bones, repulsive bones or bones, bones . He them develops that perception in such a way that his mind stays with the perception of repulsiveness for one or two or three hours. Because of the assistance of the fourth jhœna based on mindfulness of breathing it should not take long for him to attain the first jhœna based on the perception of the repulsiveness of the bones. When he is able to do this he can also develop in a similar way the perception of the repulsiveness of bones externally in other people and animals. After he has become skillful in this he can move on to develop the white kasiöa. To develop the white kasiöa he develops his concentration as before and until he is able to discern the repulsiveness of the bones externally. Then he looks at a very white part of those external bones such as the back of the skull of the person sitting in front of him and by giving attention to it as only white, white , he eventually removes the perception of repulsiveness and bones and is just aware of the white colour. This may appear to him as a small white circle. w 6 As he continues to concentrate on this white circle it progressively becomes whiter and brighter and he can use it to attain the first, second, third, and fourth jhœnas based on this white nimitta. A meditator who can attain the fourth jhœna using the white kasiöa can then easily use that concentration and the light associated with it as a basis for the development of the Four Protections (caturakkha): Loving-kindness meditation (mettœ), Recollection of the qualities of the Buddha (Buddhanussati), meditation on the repulsiveness of corpses (asubha), and Recollection of death. (Marananussati). The meditator will find that he will be able to learn and develop these meditations very easily, and quickly because of the momentum and assistance of the fourth jhœna concentration using the white kasiöa. The path of practise of the meditator that we have described so far constitutes the development of concentration that is generally followed by meditators at Pa Auk Tawya who begin by developing mindfulness of breathing. Alternate Way of Developing Concentration Based On Four Elements Meditation In the beginning of this overview we also mentioned that the meditator can begin by developing the Four Elements Meditation. If a meditator begins to develop his concentration by using the Four Elements Meditation then his path of practise will be as follows: Firstly he learns to discern in the body each of the 12 characteristics of the four elements one at a time. The 12 characteristics are: Hardness, roughness, heaviness, Softness, smoothness, lightness, Cohesion, flowing Heat, cold, Supporting, and pushing. (Earth element). (Earth element). (Water element). (Fire element). (Air element). w 7 Then when he is able to discern all of these characteristics throughout the whole body then he meditates simply observing the first six, hardness, roughness, heaviness, softness, smoothness, and lightness, as the Earth element, the next two, flowing and cohesion, as the Water element, the next two, heat and cold, as the Fire element, and the last two, supporting and pushing, as the Air Element. In this way he develops his discernment of the four elements so that in whatever posture he is in he observes his body to be simply the Four elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. As he continues to meditate and develop deeper concentration based on the four elements he finds that his body begins to emit light at first this light maybe grey like smoke or bluish white, but as he continues to discern the four elements in that light he finds his whole body appears to be white. Then as he continues to discern the four elements in the white form of the body his whole body becomes clear like a block of ice. At this point he has developed what is called access concentration (upacœra samœdhi). At this point the meditator could go on to develop insight meditation if he so wishes, but he might also want to develop his concentration further. He can do this by discerning the 32 parts of the body in the clear form of his body. Then by using one of those parts such as the bones he can use the perception of bones to develop the first jhœna based on repulsiveness, or he can use the white colour of the bones as a kasiöa object and develop the white kasiöa to the fourth jhœna. A meditator who can attain the fourth jhœna using the white kasiöa can then easily use that concentration and the light associated with it as a basis for the development of the Four Protections (caturakkha) So whether a meditator begins by developing Mindfulness of Breathing or Meditation on the Four Elements he can develop other w 8 meditation subjects easily with the assistance of the concentration he has attained in his initial meditation. Developing Insight After the meditator has thus completed the development of concentration his mind is then pliant, usable and ready to begin the development of insight practise. If he developed his concentration by using mindfulness of breathing then he again develops that concentration as described above. He attains the fourth jhœna based on mindfulness of breathing, then discerns the 32 parts of the body a few times internally and externally, then using the white colour of the bones he progressively enters the fourth jhœna based on the white kasiöa. Then he directs his mind towards the discernment of the four elements in the body. As described above he develops concentration based on the four elements until he finds his whole body appears to be white. Then as he continues to discern the four elements in the white form of the body his whole body becomes clear like a block of ice. The meditator then continues to discern the four elements in the clear form of his body and as he does this he will find that it breaks up into tiny particles. If it does not break up into particles while he is meditating in this way then he directs his attention to discerning the element of space in the body. He finds that there are spaces all over the body such as the pores in the skin and as he discerns these spaces the clear form breaks up into particles because he is able to discern the space between particles. When he is able to easily discern these particles, which are called rèpa kalœpas, he will notice at first that they are arising and passing away very quickly. He should not pay much attention to them arising and passing away, but just continue to observe the four elements in each rèpa kalœpa. w 9 He will notice that the particles are of two main kinds those that are clear or transparent and those that are not clear or transparent. The transparent particles are those which are sensitive to the five sense objects of light, sound, odours, tastes, and touch. There are therefore five types of transparent particles. Of these the body sensitive element is found dispersed throughout the body, while the other sensitive elements are found only in their respective place which is the eye, ear, nose, and tongue. So the meditator is then trained to discern the four elements in individual particles and also becomes proficient in the analysis of different kinds of particles. As he trains progressively and systematically he will eventually be able to recognise and identify all of the 28 different types of matter that occur in the body and outside of the body as well. He is also trained to discern which of these rèpas are produced by kamma, consciousness, temperature, and nutriment (kamma, citta, utu, and ŒhŒra) The 28 kinds of matter are briefly: 4 Primary Elements 1. earth, 2. water, 3. fire, 4. air, 24 Kinds of derived matter 1. eye sensitivity, 2. ear sensitivity, 3. nose sensitivity, 4. tongue sensitivity, 5. body sensitivity, 6. light, 7. sound, 8. odour, 9. taste, (note that touch is made of the primary elements of earth, fire, and air) 10. matter that causes one to be male, 11. matter that causes one to be female, 12. heart base matter, 13. life force, 14. nutriment, 15. space, 16. bodily intimation, 17. verbal intimation, 18. lightness, 19. softness, 20. wieldiness, 21. growth of matter, 22. continuity of matter, 23. ageing of matter, 24. dissolution of matter. When a meditator is able to analyse matter and discern all these 28 kinds of matter then he discerns them as a group and knows them as matter . w 10 The meditator then moves on to the discernment of mentality which entails the analysis of all of the different types of consciousness that occur in himself, discernment of all of the individual mental factors that are present in each consciousness, and the discernment of the processes of consciousness called v thi that occur at the six doors of the senses. Discerning Mentality In Buddhist Abhidhamma the mind is seen as consisting of consciousness which knows an object and concomitant mental factors which arise together with consciousness. There are 52 such mental factors for example: contact, feeling, perception, intention, one pointedness, life faculty and attention. (phassa, vedanœ, sa Œ, cetanœ, ekaggatœ, j vita, manasikœra ) There are a total of 89 types of consciousness which can be classified according to whether they are wholesome, unwholesome or indeterminate, and also classified according to their plane of existence, rèpa, arèpa, or kœmœvacara. There are six types of sequences of consciousness called v thi in which consciousness occurs. Five of them are sequences that occur when each of the five objects of the five senses are known by the mind. These sequences of consciousness enable the mind to know objects at each of the five sense doors such as visible objects seen by the eye or sounds heard by the ear. The sixth sequence is one that occurs when the mind has a mental phenomenon as its object. So that there are five sense door processes or v this and one mind door process or v thi which make a total of six v this. The analysis of mentality is made up of three parts: 1. The analysis of all of the different types of consciousness that occur in oneself. 2. Discernment of all of the individual mental factors that are present in each consciousness. 3. The discernment of the processes of consciousness called v thi that occur at the six doors of the senses. If a meditator wants
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