The Daily Cushion, “Sankhara Thought Formation Influence all 12 Links of Samsara”

“Sankhara Thought Formations Influence All 12 Links of Samsara.” By Uzine Kundala

“Thus, O monks, through ignorance conditioned are kamma-formations; through the kamma-formations conditioned is consciousness; through consciousness conditioned is mind-and-body; through mind-and-body conditioned are the six sense-bases; through the six sense-bases conditioned is sense-impression; through sense-impression conditioned is feeling, through feeling conditioned is craving; through craving conditioned is clinging; through clinging conditioned is becoming; through becoming conditioned is birth; through birth conditioned are decay and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering.”

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/…/sn12/sn12.011.nypo.htm

Insight from SuttaTopic:

Saṅkhāra Mind Conditions is Connected to 12 Saṁsara Links By Ven. Kundala_ What is the dependent origination?

In pāḷi, Paṭiccasamuppāda, a combination of three constituent words, i.e. ‘Paṭicca’ means ‘because of’ or ‘dependent upon’, ‘saṁ’ means ‘well’, uppada means ‘arising of effect as a consequence of one or more conditions.

– This doctrine is known to the world as dependent origination or dependent co-arising or wheel of existence or cycle of rebirth.

– The Buddha lists saṅkhāra (mind condition or volitional formation) as the second factor in the twelve links of dependent origination.

– Dependent on ignorance (avijjā), volitional formation (saṅkhāra) arises,Dependent on the volitional formation (saṅkhāra), consciousness (viññāna) arises, and so on throughout twelve links, thus arises this entire mass of suffering.(https://suttacentral.net/sn12.1/en/bodhi)

Meditation TrainingIn the dependent origination of 12-links, saṅkhāra is past kamma and kamma-bhava (existence) is present kamma.

-In our many past lives we had created many saṅkhāra kamma; i.e., good, bad, or mixed kamma which are always waiting for the chance to give the result.

-If we have a teacher who can teach Dependent Origination and Vipassanā practice, then we will not create kamma-bhava. If not, we create kamma all the times. Cetanā kammaṁ ahaṁ vadāmi in pāḷi, which means the seed of volitional formation (cetanā) is called action (kamma).

– We can observe our minds at viññāna (consciousness) or vedanā (feeling) or taṇhā (craving) or upadāna (clinging) (see the 12-links of D.O).

Meditation Tips

-Saṅkhāra kamma always gives the result. Without the ignorance (avijjā) ceases then the saṅkhāra not ceases, the saṅkhāra not ceases always connect the khandha (aggregate) process. By meeting a spiritual friend (kalyana-mitta) can stop the kamma-bhava.

– Who want Nibbāna have to cut off kamma by doing Vipassanā. Any realm of existence is the power of kammic energy. Cutting off kamma is the power of knowledge.

-Every dāna (generosity) done by seeing dukkha saccā (suffering truth) does not continue the round of existence (saṁsara).

SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

“The Body”

As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, and the body also begins to relax. Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rūpa, that temporarily supports consciousness.As observed, the body, let the breath and body fade. (Credit to Steve Lin from FB)

The Five Rituals

First of all, there are some things to do before practicing Vipassanā meditation.

1. You should offer yourself to the Buddha during practicing meditation saying “May I offer myself, Ven. Sir.”.

2. If you have done wrong physically, verbally, and mentally to the teachers, parents, you should apologize to them so as to get rid of your sins.

3. You should send your loving-kindness to guardian devas (gods or deities) of persons, houses, towns, Sāsanā Teachings and all beings to be healthy and happy. May they be free from suffering.

4. You should state thus: “May all my wholesome offering is done in previous and present existences conduce to the attainment of the Path, the Fruition, and Nirvana.”

5. “I have died in many existences. I must practice Vipassanā meditation before I die in this existence.” You must be mindful of death. (Credit to “how to Live as a Good Buddhist” Vol.II, Trans; U Han Htay and U Chit Tin.)

Self-Guided Meditation

– At first, contemplate and see the impermanence of the khandha (aggregate), and then make a resolution by wanting to free from the vaṭṭa dukkha round of dukkha (suffering) existence. The dāna (donation or charity or generosity) is enriching by Vipassanā (Anguttara Nikāya).

– (Mogok Sayadaw used the Sammādiṭṭhi Sutta, MN9 or MN I 46, from the Majjhima Nikāya to explain the two types of the worldling.)

(1) Worldling outside the Sāsanā (Buddha’s teaching period), believe in kamma (saṅkhāra), so kammassakata sammā-dhiṭṭhi. By itself alone not realize Nibbāna.

(2) Worldling inside the Sāsanā, believe in kamma (saṅkhāra) also and get the knowledge (Vipassanā ñāna) of impermanence, so can realize Nibbāna. (Ref: Above Suttas and Mogok Sayadaw’s dhamma talk, 23rd Nov. 1960.)

THE DAILY CUSHION: LEARN TO OBSERVE SANKHARA MIND FORMATIONS

LEARN TO OBSERVE SANKHARA MIND FORMATIONS by Steve Lin

👉 “And what is the source of consciousness?
Viññāṇañcidaṃ, bhikkhave, kiṃnidānaṃ kiṃsamudayaṃ kiṃjātikaṃ kiṃpabhavaṃ?

👉Choices.
Viññāṇaṃ saṅkhāranidānaṃ saṅkhārasamudayaṃ saṅkhārajātikaṃ saṅkhārapabhavaṃ.

👉 And what is the source of choices?
Saṅkhārā cime, bhikkhave, kiṃnidānā kiṃsamudayā kiṃjātikā kiṃpabhavā?

👉 Ignorance.
Saṅkhārā avijjānidānā avijjāsamudayā avijjājātikā avijjāpabhavā.

👉 And so, ignorance is a condition for choices.
Iti kho, bhikkhave, avijjāpaccayā saṅkhārā;

👉 Choices are a condition for consciousness. … saṅkhārapaccayā viññāṇaṃ … pe …

👉 That is how this entire mass of suffering originates.
evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.

👉 When ignorance fades away and ceases with nothing left over, choices cease.
Avijjāya tveva asesavirāganirodhā saṅkhāranirodho;

👉 When choices cease, consciousness ceases. …
saṅkhāranirodhā viññāṇanirodho … pe …

👉 That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.”
evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa nirodho hotī”ti.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.11/en/sujato

🔆 INSIGHTS FROM SUTTA STANZA

📌 Choices (volitional mind formations) are sankhara (Pali) and are influenced by ignorance (avijjā).

📌 Sankhara (mind conditions) are a key contributor to mind consciousness, kamma, cravings, and suffering (Dukkha).

📌 Sankhara choices and conditions are impermanent and can be cultivated to end “purify consciousness” and end suffering (Dukkha).

🔆 MEDITATION TRAINING

📌 The first important step to change or purify sankhara is learn to “observe the ignorance”, “observe the wrong views”, and “observe the causes that led to poor choices or thoughts.”

📌 Second, “observe the discernment”, “observe the right views” and “observe mindfulness” that helps purify the mind sankhara and consciousness. Observe knowledge that helps make noble choices.

📌 Use mindfulness to observe “daily thoughts and choices” that create sankhara mind conditions and formations.

🔆 MEDITATION TIPS

📌 Remember that “sankhara” is constantly changing due to thoughts and choices.

📌 Don’t obsesses or fixate on past choices or sankhara. Old sankhara thoughts can be modified, purified, and replaced by new choices, new thoughts, and new sankhara.

📌 New and noble thoughts, new and noble choices, new and noble sankhara are ways to purify the mind conditions and consciousness that will end suffering and lead to nirvana.

🙏 PREPARATION FOR GUIDED MEDITATION

🧘🏽‍♀‍ MEDITATION PLACE

📌 Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ RELAX

📌 After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)

📌 Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.

📌 Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.

📌 I take refuge in The Buddha.

📌 I take refuge in The Dhamma.

📌 I take refuge in The Sangha.🧘🏽‍♀‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Breath”

📌 Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.

📌 As you breath in… observe it and release.

📌 As you breath out… observe it and release.

📌 Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.

📌 Use the out breath to practice releasing.

📌 Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.📌 I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)

📌 “Release” (our breath)

📌 Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.

🧘🏽‍♀‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Body”

📌 As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.

📌 Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.

📌 As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.

🧘🏽‍♂‍ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)

📌 “The Mind”

📌 As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.

📌 As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.

📌 They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.

🔆 SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION

👉🏽 After preparation, relax and smile…

📌 Contemplate a recent “significant” choice (sankhara).

📌 Observe conditions, thoughts, and influences on that choice.- passions, sensual feelings, pleasures?- thoughts of family pressures?- thoughts of peer pressure?- routine or habit?- thoughts of craving or clinging to an idea?- thoughts of craving or clinging to a person?- thoughts of fears, worry?

📌 Observe how that thought and choice was influenced by past choices and throughts (sankhara).

📌 Identify “insights” from this “pattern” that can help future choices and modify sankhara conditions that can influence noble choices in the future.

What are Sankhara Mind Formations and Conditions?

  • 12 October 2020 – Deep Dig

“What are Sankhara Mind Formations and Conditions?” by Steve Linder

  • Introduction
    • Today begins a very deep and important series about The Buddha’s teachings on Sankhara mind formations and conditions.
    • In this series, we will be looking closely at the pali word meaning of Sankhara and it’s use by The Buddha throughout many suttas in the Pali Canon.
    • In “The Daily Cushion” teachings, teachers will be integrating meditation teachings with the suttas about sankhara.
    • We will also add occasional Dhamma in Action scenarios about practical life situations related to these sankhara thought conditions.
  • Key Sutta
    • “And what, bhikkhus, is dependent origination? With ignorance as condition, volitional formations (SANKHARA) come to be; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form; with name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact; with contact as condition, feeling; with feeling as condition, craving; with craving as condition, clinging; with clinging as condition, existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is called dependent origination. (Bhikkhu Bodhi, translation)
  • Lesson One: Sankhara is Influence BY Ignorance from Past Existence  
    • The Buddha lists sankhara (mind conditions or volitional formations) as the second factor in the twelve links of Dependent Origination.
    • Sankhara mind conditions, choices, and formations are from past kamma, experiences and views.
    • These past views and kamma are primarily based upon ignorance (avijja).
    • You are alive today because of samasara rebirth, the result of past ignorance.
    • Igornance, kamma choices, and kamma thoughts determine these sankhara mind conditions.
  • Lesson Two: Sankhara Mind Formations are a Significant Cause and Influence on All Current and Future Existence 
    • The Buddha taught that Sankhara is the cause or conditions for consciousness or awareness, mind awareness of body, awareness of the six senses, and so forth.
    • Each time that the six senses are in contact with an object, the sankhara mind conditions influence the awareness or consciousness of that contact.
    • Our past experiences influence whether the contact of an object is pleasant, unpleasant, or neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
    • The sankhara mind conditions influences whether the arising experiences becomes something we crave or something we want to cling to.
    • For this reason, it is very important to understand how to train the mind and cultivate noble sankhara mind fabrications and choices. These thoughts influence our cravings and attachments.
    • Thoughts easily become fuel for craving and desires.
    • Even though sankhara are impermanent, they can have a huge impact on our lives, minds, and practice.
  • Personal Application
    • Do you ever feel like you are making decisions without much thought or mindfulness?
    • Have you made a decision that you later regretted? What were the results?
    • Do you have habits that seem impossible to break? Do you keep feeding the habits by your choices?
    • Have you ever contemplated on your mind conditions or thought formations to gain insights?

Laypersons & Illusions of Future Self by Brad Hunter

04 OCTOBER 2020, THE DAILY CUSHION

Laypersons & Illusions of Future Self by Brad Hunter

“And so these eight qualities
Iccete aṭṭha dhammā ca,

of a faithful householder
saddhassa gharamesino;

are declared by the one who is truly named
Akkhātā saccanāmena,

to lead to happiness in both spheres,
ubhayattha sukhāvahā.

welfare and benefit in this life,
Diṭṭhadhammahitatthāya,

and happiness in the future lives.
samparāyasukhāya ca;

This is how, for a householder,
Evametaṃ gahaṭṭhānaṃ,

merit grows by generosity.”
cāgo puññaṃ pavaḍḍhatī”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

SELF-GUIDED MEDITATIONCULTIVATING GENEROSITY(BOUNDLESS ABODE OF KINDNESS) RECOGNITION & RECOLLECTION:

Bring to mind acts of kindness and generosity from childhood, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant. Memories that touch and move the heart. Asking someone to be your friend. Offering to help. Giving a pretty leaf to a friend or family member… and so on. Invite memories of words and acts of kindness that you have received from others in childhood. Allow such memories to warm the heart space and release resistance. Now turn the mind closer to the present and spend a few moments recollecting both giving and receiving kindness and generosity.

Once you have the felt sense of kindness established in the body—in the heart space, in the solar plexus, in a softened radiant face—continue to nurture, cultivate and deepen this sense by breathing into the body all of the goodness of the world. The goodness and beauty of nature, of the earth, the elements, space. The goodness of the millions of acts of kindness and generosity that occur everyday with ordinary people moved to act in extraordinary ways. (A kind of inverse Tonglen practice). Before getting too involved in narratives and pulled into papanca, try to drop the verbal fabrication and just stay with the embodied sense of kindness/goodwill/generosity—the felt warmth, spaciousness, lightness and joy of it, right in the heart space.

Gradually breathe the embodied sense of this throughout the body. If the mind gets distracted, give it the job of taking up the single word “kindness” with each breath. Soaking, suffusing, pervading the body with kindness. Skin, muscles, tendons, organs, blood-stream, nervous system, bones and marrow, all permeated with kindness. Relaxing the willful ‘doing’, turn to receiving and allowing. Inviting the feelings of kindness to ‘ride’ bloodstream and be received by every cell, and to pervade the nervous system to be appreciated in every nerve. Whenever necessary, take up the verbal fabrications of the language of absorption and concentration: suffusing, pervading, soaking, ‘no part of the body untouched’. Encouraging, deepening, expanding the felt sense of kindness, redirecting attention as necessary.

Now bringing up the metta phrase ‘to others as to myself’. Begin pervading the space around you, in all directions with this same sense of kindness. This kindness becomes an offering to all beings in all realms. Try to be guided more by your intuitive feeling sense and imagination than by verbal fabrications of the intellect. Periodically you can insert a word or a short phrase to keep the mind focused: ‘kindness’, ‘may all beings be at ease’, ‘may all be free of suffering’ etc. Continue to follow the feeling, relaxing and releasing wherever you meet difficulty in the heart, body or mind. Pervading the space above, below, in front and behind, to the left and to the right—all radiant with kindness.

Breathing kindness into the body from the space around, and breathing it back into that space. Continue until you feel the body suffused with kindness sitting with space pervaded with kindness. Abide in this space. When it feels like time to end, offer your presence of kindness and goodwill to beings in all directions as an act of generosity emitting from the sincere desire of the heart to bring an end to suffering.

MEDITATION OPTION 2:

GIVING IT ALL BACK

Take up a basic 4 primal elements meditation. Consider the body as mere elements and bring the elements to mind for all the parts of the body that arise in awareness. Reflect on the qualities of the earth element present throughout the body, the water element, the fire element, the air element. Take as long as you want, exploring skin, flesh, organs, muscles, bones and marrow.

different segments of the body. See how the qualities of earth, water, fire and air all permeate the body in various ways and how the elements interpenetrate one another. (Combine this practice with the 32 body parts if you like.)Bring up images of the primal elements as expressed in nature: mountains, rivers, trees, grasses, earth, oceans, air, sunlight, snow, ice, rain, fire, heat and so on…

After a period of reflection, begin ‘giving it all back’. Visualize returning everything in the body that is of earth nature, offering it back to the earth, the hills and mounts. Think of the water element throughout the body and offering it back to the clouds, the rain, the rivers and oceans. Imagine the heat of the fire element radiating back into the world from the body. Feel each exhalation of the breath as an offering being breathed back into the world, into the air, into space.

Mind Trainings

• Becoming increasingly sensitive to the body-heart-mind complex, notice the contractions, tension, stress of clinging, craving and attachment. Train oneself in releasing and letting go.• As above, noticing this stress whenever something is clung to as I, me or mine. Relax through metta and the breath. Release and let go.• Notice cause and effect. Notice the (momentary) cessation of suffering and the arising of gladness, lightness, joy and contentment through releasing and letting go, through thoughts and acts of generosity and giving.

INSIGHTS

• Possessions only ‘belong to us’ in a conventional and conditional sense. Ultimately, nothing whatsoever—even ‘my’ body—is should be clung to as I, me or mine.

• Cultivating generosity simultaneously enhances many other aspects of the path: Kindness and Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. Selflessness and the gradual diminishing of the tyranny of personality view.

• Even if ‘future lives’ is outside of one’s conceptual framework currently, one can still discover directly, here and now, the results of acting in the world from a baseline of kindness and generosity.

MEDITATION TIPS

• Follow the sense of wholesome pleasure and joy in the heart.

• Keep the ‘concentration’ open, spacious and kind. (Be mindful of adding more stress and contraction to an already stressed body and mind.)

• Give yourself permission to enjoy the blameless pleasant feelings arising from generosity, without going to pride or attachment to merit. Kindness and generosity are the natural states of an unobstructed heart.

LAYPERSONS PURIFY THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT by Sumith Siriwardana

03 OCTOBER 2020, THE DAILY CHAIR

LAYPERSONS PURIFY THE PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT by Sumith Siriwardana

“Faithful, accomplished in ethics,
Saddho sīlena sampanno,

kind, rid of stinginess,
vadaññū vītamaccharo;

they always purify the path
Niccaṃ maggaṃ visodheti,

to well-being in lives to come.
sotthānaṃ samparāyikaṃ.”

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

VIPASSANA INSIGHT

In Dighajanu Sutta, The Lord Buddha has remarkably stated the importance of following the four good qualities such as Faith, Ethics, Generocity, and Wisdom, in order to purify our path for the well-being of our present and future lives and achieve “Nibbana”. We can also expect two results by following them such as the well-being of our lay life and the well-being of our spiritual life in the present and future. These four good qualities play a major role in our meditative practice to purify our path. The first quality is Faith.

* Faith is what makes us confident in the Lord Buddha. If one does not have faith, he or she does not tend to follow the Lord Buddha’s teachings . Even if someone is following the path without faith, he or she tends to be hindered by doubt and this leads to a failure of his concentration.

* Ethics are what purify our bodily and verbal actions. If one’s moral conduct is not pure, during meditation, the mind is likely to be assailed by various unwholesome bodily and verbal thoughts. They become preoccupied with the mind and they hinder the right concentration.

* Generosity is what makes us free from greediness and keeps our minds happy. When our minds are free from greediness, we can expect a happy and free mind which allows concentration to develop. Generosity is a way to practice let go and this also helps you in your meditation practice to let go of all arisen phenomena including different insight impediments.

* Wisdom is what we gain through observing the phenomena and discern that they are impermanent, suffering, and not-self. This is purely on Insight meditation. Through a gradual practice, your meditative insight makes you discern the three universal characteristics of all phenomena.

MIND TRAINING

– It is important to develop the four good qualities in our meditative practice to find well-being and happiness in this life and future lives.

– Always observe your activities and avoid bad qualities that hinder your progress and allow good activities that help to develop four good qualities.

GUIDED MEDITATION

> MEDITATION PLACE

Find a secluded place. If you are at home, your room is fine but better at a time of less noisy and Busy.

RELAX

After sitting comfortable on a cushion or pillow or floor, keep your knees in a way that they touch on the floor (Lotus position or half lotus position or Burmese way). However, if you have an ailment or a body pain, better sit on a comfortable position like a small chair.Place your hands on your lap and keep your right palm on top of your left palm. While looking at three feets in front, close your eyes.

Relax and be aware that you are sitting now. Keep your mindful in front.

TRIPLE GEM (1-2 MIN) Take refuge in the Triple Gems.I take refuge in The Buddha.I take refuge in The DhammaI take refuuge in The Sanga

“The Breath” Observe your breath mindfully. Better if you can identify the touching point near your nostrils. Some might feel at the tip of the nose and some might feel inside of the nose or on top of the nose, wherever you feel, keep your attention (Sati Nimmita) on there and allow your breath in and breath out. At the beginning, you might not feel the types of breath like long or short. But it is fine as long as you are aware of breath in and breath out. Advance practitioners can observe the types of breath. Recollection of the qualities of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (Conviction)Recollection of Buddha

Recollect as ‘Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.

Recollection of Dhamma

Recollect Dhamma as ‘The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.

Recollection of Sangha

Recollect Sangha as The Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples who have practiced well… who have practiced straight-forwardly… who have practiced methodically… who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four types [of noble disciples] when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.

Recollection of the virtues

Recollect of you virtues as I refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, laying and taking intoxications. Also, recollect that those who preserved virtues which were untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, conducive to concentration, have been born in a happy state. So by doing the same, I will also be born in a happy state with the company of virtuous beings and they finally lead to awakening.

Recollection of Generosity

Recollect generous deeds you did for the well being of the Sangha and the community such as Alms givings, donations and charities. Also, recollect that those who did such generous deeds, have been born in a happy state, so by doing the same I will also be born in a happy state with the company of generous beings and finally leads to awakening.

SELF GUIDED MEDITATION

– Contemplate four good qualities as factors for awakening.

– Contemplate four good qualities as factors that bring peace and happiness in this life and future lives.

Laypersons & The Importance of The Eightfold Path by Steve Lin

02 OCTOBER 2020, THE DAILY CUSHION

Laypersons & The Importance of The Eightfold Path by Steve Lin

“Faithful, accomplished in ethics,
Saddho sīlena sampanno,

kind, rid of stinginess,
vadaññū vītamaccharo;

they always purify the path
Niccaṃ maggaṃ visodheti,

to well-being in lives to come.
sotthānaṃ samparāyikaṃ.”

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

“Following the Noble Eightfold Path leads to liberation in the form of nirvana: “Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times.

👉🏽 I followed that path.

Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death.

👉🏽 I followed that path.

Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth… becoming… clinging… craving… feeling… contact… the six sense media… name-&-form… consciousness, direct knowledge of the origination of consciousness, direct knowledge of the cessation of consciousness, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of consciousness.

👉🏽 I followed that path.”

— The Buddha, Nagara Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya ii.124, Translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

☸️ MEDITATION TIPS

– Virtue is kamma that effects the mind and meditation. To improve your meditation, then improve your virtue and kamma.

– The future state of mind and rebirth is directly related to kamma and meditation training.

– Effective Meditation takes

📌 Right Effort,

📌 Right Mindfulness,

📌 Right Concentration.

☸ PREPARATION FOR GUIDED MEDITATION

🧘🏽‍♀️ MEDITATION PLACE▪ Find a comfortable place that is quiet to sit and meditate with few interruptions and distractions to the senses.

🧘🏽‍♀️ RELAX▪ After sitting comfortably on a cushion or pillow or floor, place hands in lap and close the eyes.

🧘🏽‍♀️ TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)▪ Prepare the mind and concentration by taking “Refuge in the Triple Gem”.▪ Visualize each one in the mind (as an object) and generate faith and warm feelings with each one. Don’t rush this.▪ I take refuge in The Buddha.▪ I take refuge in The Dhamma.▪ I take refuge in The Sangha.

🧘🏽‍♀️ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)▪ “The Breath”▪ Begin to focus in the breathing without attaching or stressing about it. Just relax and observe the breath.▪ As you breath in… observe it and release.▪ As you breath out… observe it and release.▪ Observing the rhythm of the breath is essential to relax the body and to practice releasing.▪ Use the out breath to practice releasing.▪ Relaxed smiling is good to use to help relax.▪ I often will use the phrase “Peace” (in breath)▪ “Release” (our breath)▪ Continue observing breathing until it becomes very subtle or almost unnoticeable.

🧘🏽‍♀️ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)▪ “The Body”▪ As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax.▪ Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness.▪ As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade.

🧘🏽‍♂️ SATIPATTHĀNA WARM UP (3-5 min)▪ “The Mind”▪ As the breath fades and the body relaxes, the mind tends to become active or stay busy.▪ As thoughts arise, don’t engage with them. Observe them and then let them fade.▪ They will rise and they will fall unless there is engagement to feed the thoughts.

☸️ SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION- Contemplate the positive results of your virtue and kamma.- Contemplate the positive results of your meditation practice.- Observe ways the mind conditions are being purified and gaining freedom from your training and practice.

Who gives, one’s virtues shall increase;

Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;

Who so is skilled in virtue, evil shuns,

And by the rooting out of lust and hate.

And all delusion, comes to be at peace.

-Dīgha Nikāya 2.197

WISDOM & DISCERNMENT EFFECT THE FUTURE OF LAYPERSONS by Ryan Burton

01 OCTOBER 2020, THE DAILY CUSHION

WISDOM & DISCERNMENT EFFECT THE FUTURE OF LAYPERSONS by Ryan Burton

And what is accomplishment in wisdom?
Katamā ca, byagghapajja, paññāsampadā?

It’s when a gentleman is wise. They have the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering.
Idha, byagghapajja, kulaputto paññavā hoti, udayatthagāminiyā paññāya samannāgato ariyāya nibbedhikāya sammā dukkhakkhayagāminiyā.

This is called accomplishment in wisdom.
Ayaṃ vuccati, byagghapajja, paññāsampadā. (4: 8 )

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

INSIGHTS

1. Things lead to welfare in this life for the householder. They are accomplishment in initiative, protection, good friendship and balanced finances. Initiative is reference to the specificity of organizing and completing work in one’s trade. Protecting is safeguarding accumulated wealth. He or she associates with persons accomplished in faith, ethics, generosity and wisdom. Balanced finances are the final accomplishment, living in such a way where expenditures do not exceed income.

2. What does it mean to be accomplished in faith, ethics, generosity and wisdom? In this context faith refers to faith in the Buddha’s enlightenment. For ethics, upholding the 5 precepts. For generosity, to be committed to charity, to love letting go, to be free of stinginess. For wisdom, the sutta refers to be a wise person through seeing the arising and passing of phenomena which leads to the end of suffering.

3. What is the arising and passing? This term refers to seeing things as they are – impermanent and inconstant. It is also the name of a specific insight knowledge in the progress of insight.“

Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Course of Practice

“After noticing these manifestations of brilliant light and the others, or after leaving them unheeded, he goes on continuously as before with the act of noticing the bodily and mental processes as they become evident at the six sense doors. While thus engaged in noticing, he gets over the corruptions relating to brilliant light, rapture, tranquillity, happiness, attachment, etc., and his knowledge remains concerned exclusively with the arising and passing away of the processes noticed. For then, at each act of noticing, he sees: “The noticed object, having arisen, disappears instantly.” It also becomes clear to him that each object disappears just where it arises; it does not move on to another place.

In that way he understands by direct experience how bodily and mental processes arise and break up from moment to moment. It is such knowledge and understanding resulting from the continuous noticing of bodily and mental processes as they arise and dissolve moment after moment, and the discernment, in separate sections, of the arising and passing away of each of them, while being free from the corruptions, that is called “final knowledge of contemplation of arising and passing away.” This is the beginning of “purification by knowledge and vision of the course of practice,” which starts from this insight and extends to adaptation knowledge (No.13).” – Mahasi SayadawMind

TRAINING

1 . For householders peace of mind is essential to the practice of meditation. Where are we deficient in the four accomplishments in our present life? Would more discipline in balancing finances, in skill related to our trade, in safeguarding our profits and in good companionship be beneficial for us? If so how can we apply this teaching? What is one thing we can do now? Whether it’s re-evaluating our budget or reassessing friendships.

2 . In what ways are we deficient in the four accomplishments in faith, ethics, generosity and wisdom? In accurately assessing ourselves, are we applying enough wise attention to these accomplishments?

3 . How can we practice, see and know the arising and passing of phenomena? With a purified mind we direct attention at the aggregates.

MEDITATION TIPS

1. Observe the effect of increased faith on your meditation. Take time to re-connect with the reason you’re on the path. Contemplate the qualities of the Buddha.

2. Observe the effect of increasing ethic, observing the 5 or 8 precepts scrupulously and see how this effects meditation.

3. Observe the effect of being more generous financially and with your time as well. See how open heartedness changes your practice.

4. Observe the effect of being more wise by observing the arising and passing of phenomena, this is most easily done by observing sensations or the aggregates as done in the both the Goenka and Mmahasi Sayadaw vipassana traditions.

Self-Guided Meditation on Repulsiveness

Let’s us begin with paying Homage

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa

Phase 1 – (10-20 minutes) After having looked at an image of skeleton, sitting upright legs crossed in meditation, begin to use your imagination, imagining the bones of your feet. As you had the divine eye and were able to see through your own skin.

Phase 2 – (10-20 minutes) “See” the foot bones, shin bones, thigh bones, hip bones, back bone(spine), ribs, breast bone, shoulder bones, neck bone, jaw bone, teeth, and skull.” And meditate on the full body of the skeleton. Allow the feeling and understanding of repulsiveness to grow.

Phase 3 – (10-20 minutes) Continuing with repulsion move to the final stage of the meditation. Dissolve the visualization by seeing your “bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells… piled up, more than a year old… decomposed into a powder.” See the bones of the body reduced to dust and take repulsiveness alone as object. Continue into access concentration and Jhana.

Phase 4 – (10-20 minutes) Emerge from deep concentration. Direct the mind at the arising and passing away of phenomena. This can be done by noting/being aware of anything that is arising and passing in any of the sense doors or mind. It can also be done by being attentive of 1 aggregate to the exclusion of everything else, for example, observing the changing nature of physical sensations as the abdomen rises and falls.

GENEROSITY EFFECTS A LAYPERSON’S MIND & FUTURE by Uzine Kundala

30 SEPTEMBER 2020 – THE DAILY CUSHION

GENEROSITY EFFECTS A LAYPERSON’S MIND & FUTURE by Uzine Kundala

“And what is accomplishment in generosity?
Katamā ca, byagghapajja, cāgasampadā?

It’s when a gentleman lives at home rid of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, loving to let go, committed to charity, loving to give and to share.
Idha, byagghapajja, kulaputto vigatamalamaccherena cetasā agāraṃ ajjhāvasati muttacāgo payatapāṇi vossaggarato yācayogo dānasaṃvibhāgarato.

This is called accomplishment in generosity.
Ayaṃ vuccati, byagghapajja, cāgasampadā. (3: 7)”

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

How to Sacrifice about Generosity

_ Yogi (practitioner man) gives a gift with the thought. There were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past. After death, he reappears in the company of the devas (gods) who delight in creation. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world. This dāna is called vaṭṭa dāna (round in saṁsara again and again).

_This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind. After death, he reappears in the company of Brahma’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world who will be non-returner (Anāgāmi person). This is the best way of dāna is called vivaṭṭa dāna (generosity to transcend dukkha) that is the end of suffering, the Buddha mentioned dāna with Vipassanā. (Aṅguttara, An.7.52 Dānamahapphalasuttaṁ)

_ These are the reason and cause, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit. (https://accesstoinsight.org/…/an/an07/an07.049.than.html).

Meditation Training

The Buddha taught the layperson the Dhamma in a way that leads to his welfare and happiness in this life and in future life. Kalyānamittatā- good friendship is very important. You have also the qualities or factors of good friendship as well. The four factors are accomplishment in saddhā-faith, sīla-ethic, cāga- generosity, and paññā- wisdom that means Vipassanā (insight meditation). (Dhīghajānu sutta, https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato)

You are offering dāna (cāga- generosity) as a good worldling (kalyāṇa puthujjana) and not as a blind worldling (andha Puthujjana). Knowledge (ñāṇa) knows the truth and not kamma. Therefore this is a dāna performed with knowledge, and will sure to reach Nibbāna. Dāna is not prolonging the round of existence (saṁsāra). Not knowing the right way of doing it only prolongs the samsara.

Meditation Tips

Accomplishment in generosity, he committed to charity, love to give, and to share.

_Offering with the desire for the becoming of a human being or heavenly being is for the cause of dukkha (Samudaya Saccā). Even becoming the blissful khanda (aggregate), it is still the truth of dukkha (suffering) that is dukkha saccā.

_ With the giving (dāna) still get lost in dukkha. The truth has to be based on the khanda for becoming the knowledge of seeing.

”As the breath fades, the mind relaxes, the body also begins to relax. Observe the body as a (body) form. It’s not self, but only a shell, a rupa, that temporarily supports consciousness. As observing, the body, let the breath and body fade. (Credit to Steve Lin from FB)

The Five Rituals

First of all, there are some things to do before practicing Vipassana meditation.

1. You should offer yourself to the Buddha during practicing meditation saying ” May I offer myself, Ven. Sir.”.

2. If you have done wrong physically, verbally, and mentally to the teachers, parents, you should apologize to them so as to get rid of your sins.

3. You should send your loving-kindness to guardian devas ( gods or deities) of persons, houses, towns, Sasana Teachings and all beings to be healthy and happy. May they be free from suffering.

4. You should state thus:”May all my wholesome offering is done in previous and present existences conduce to the attainment of the Path, the Fruition, and Nirvana.”

5. “I have died in many existences. I must practice Vipassana meditation before I die in this existence.”

You must be mindful of death.(Credit to “how to Live as a Good Buddhist” Vol.II, Trans; U Han Htay and U Chit Tin.)

Guided Meditation- During the giving we have to enrich with insight. Wanting to be free from the direct experience of dukkha (suffering) and make the offering must contemplate the khandha in this way.

– Let contemplate the khandha (mind and body) for five minutes before the offering.- Therefore the offering ceremony transformed into a vivaṭṭa dāna (Dāna transcend the round of existence).

– You have to change your mind for I am offering these things with the knowledge of knowing dukkha saccā. Saddhā (faith) follows behind and knowledge (ñāṇa) is leading at the front.

– You must believe it that expect Nibbāna, it will never give other results.- In pāḷi words; (Idaṁme daāna Nibbānata paccayo hotu). (Ref: Above suttas and Ven. Mogok Sayadaw’s dhamma talk on 12th October 1962)

VIRTUE & ETHICS EFFECTS FUTURE REBIRTHS By Mike DiMeo

29 SEPTEMBER 2020

VIRTUE & ETHICS EFFECTS FUTURE REBIRTHS
By Mike DiMeo

“And what is accomplishment in ethics?
Katamā ca, byagghapajja, sīlasampadā?

It’s when a gentleman doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, or consume alcoholic drinks that cause negligence.
Idha, byagghapajja, kulaputto pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti … pe … surāmerayamajjapamādaṭṭhānā paṭivirato hoti.

This is called accomplishment in ethics.
Ayaṃ vuccati, byagghapajja, sīlasampadā. (2: 6)”

https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato

VIPASSANA (Main Insight)

As lay people, we need to cultivate sila and virtue in order to live happy lives in this lifetime and in future lifetimes. Cultivating sila and virtue is necessary for people who want to practice the Dhamma. By understanding the Buddha’s teachings and practicing the Dhamma, we as lay people can live virtuous lives and positively influence our kamma and future rebirths.

MIND TRAINING

In order to be virtuous, we need to cultivate skillful qualities and abandon unskillful qualities. We need to remain mindful all throughout the day.We should train our mind to have loving-kindness for all beings instead of killing. This can be done by practicing metta in our daily life.

We should not waste our money on sensual pleasures and we should earn our money by virtuous means instead of stealing. Instead of drinking, gambling, and womanizing, we should share our money with our family and the Sangha and spend our time with wise and noble Dhamma friends. We need to be honest and tell the truth instead of lying. We should speak to other people in a way that is kind and compassionate, not harsh and rude. Let us train our mind so that our actions can be skillful.

PREPARATION

Find a comfortable place to meditate. It should be quiet, secluded, and dark. It should also not be too hot or too cold. Sit in lotus position with your legs crossed. You can also sit in a chair if you are unable to sit down on the ground. Place your hands in your lap and close your eyes.

METTA WARM-UP

Let’s start our meditation practice today by radiating metta towards ourselves and all other beings. Say to yourself “may all beings be well, happy and peaceful”. Say this several times. After that, recite the words “may I be well, may I be happy and peaceful”. Say this several times as well. Then, spend the next few minutes alternating between these two recitations.

THE BREATH

Bring your attention to your nostrils, lungs, or abdomen. Notice the air going in and out of your nostrils or lungs or your abdomen expanding and contracting. Note “rising” in your mind every time the air goes into your nostrils or lungs or every time your abdomen expands and “falling” in your mind every time the air comes out of your nostrils or lungs or every time your abdomen contracts. Keep your attention here. Do not let your mind wander here and there. Remain concentrated on your breath.

You will begin to notice your body and mind calm down and relax. Observe the rhythm of your breath. At the beginning of your meditation practice, it may be faster. As your body and mind calm down and relax, your breath will become calmer and more subtle.

THE BODY

When your mind begins to calm down and your breath begins to become more subtle, your body will begin to relax. The Buddha teaches us the truth of Anatta (not self). It’s important that we get rid of our belief in a self. To do this, briefly observe your head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, or skin. Understand it’s function (i.e. to help you chew food or to protect you from sun rays), and then remember how skin color changes and gets darker or pale depending on the seasons and how your skin wrinkles as you grow older, how head hair becomes white and falls out as you age, how body hair falls out frequently, how nails can fall out and change size all on their own, and how teeth can fall out, break, and rot all on their own.

This practice will give us insight into the impermanence of the body, and then we will be able to see it as “rupa”, meaning form, and not self.

THE MIND

Even as your mind calms down, your breath becomes more subtle, and your body relaxes, your mind stays active, thinking about this and that. When thoughts arise, try not to follow them. Just observe them as they come and go. Try to keep your mind concentrated on the breath. If you follow your thoughts, they will stay in your mind and you will become distracted. If unskillful thoughts remain in your mind, reflect upon their origin. You will find that unskillful thoughts arise from attachment. What are you clinging to? Reflect upon this and let go.

MEDITATION TIPS

Reflect upon the impermanence of life, wealth, and sensuality. Is it worth it to spend our money on indulgence in sensual pleasures, or rather with our family and the Sangha?

Craving for sensual pleasures can lead us to squander our wealth and become heedless in our actions. Drinking, gambling, and womanizing can lead to ruin for us as lay people. We can destroy our health, mindfulness, wealth, and family if we indulge in these things. What’s more important? Having quick fixes that only satisfy us temporarily, or lasting peace in our lives? Reflect on this.

SELF-GUIDED MEDITATION

We train our minds even as lay people so that we can live happy and peaceful lives. The Buddha taught us to restrain our senses for a reason. By practicing sense restraint as lay people, we can develop the wisdom to overcome addictions that lead to our ruin. The Buddha encouraged us to only associate with wise and noble friends, since these friends can encourage us to stay on the path and not fall into heedlessness.

By living our lives according to the Dhamma, we reduce our suffering as lay people and positively influence our kamma, which allows us to have a more fortunate rebirth. Having a sense of urgency to practice the Dhamma as lay people can allow us to live happy and wholesome lives with no regrets. Reflect on these things. Then return your attention to the breath.

DEEP DIG – The Importance of a Layperson’s Faith by Steve Linder

Daily Dhamma Study Group

Series: A Lay Person’s Life, Balanced and Successful

Dighajanu Sutta (AN 8:54)

30 September 2020 – Deep Dig

The Importance of Layperson’s Faith

  • Introduction
    • The Buddha gave an answer to Dighajanu that included eight qualities that laypersons need to have welfare, happiness, and success in this present life and any life to come.
    • One key quality that he said was needed is “Faith or Confidence” in The Buddha and his dhamma teachings.
    • Today, we will study the meaning of faith and confidence and why it is importance for a layperson to cultivate it each day.   
  • Key Sutta Stanza
    • And what is accomplishment in faith? It’s when a gentleman has faith in the Realized One’s wakening:  ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ This is called accomplishment in faith. Dīghajāṇu Sutta AN 8.54 https://suttacentral.net/an8.54/en/sujato
  • Lesson One: What is Faith or Confidence?
    • The Pali word used by The Buddha is saddho. It means ‘believing; faithful; devoted…’ It is devotion and actions based on confidence or trust.  
    • In this sutta, he teachings that faith (saddho) is directly related to The Buddha himself becoming enlightened. He lists several things that are included in this confidence and faith.
      • Belief that he is fully awakened or enlightened
      • Belief that he is accomplished in wisdom, discernment, knowledge, and virtue
      • Belief that he is pure, insight into the realm of the world
      • Belief that he is the supreme guide for training the mind and virtue
      • Belief that he can teach both god realms and humans
      • Belief that he is abundantly blessed
  • Lesson Two: Faith and Devotion Effect Your Future & Rebirths
    • Faith, devotion, and confidence in The Buddha and in his teachings requires action. Otherwise, it is not faith or devotion.
    • A layperson who has faith and devotion in The Buddha and his teachings will take them seriously and seek to learn and practice them. These actions are kamma that influences and impacts the mind for future rebirths.
    • The Buddha did not intend for religious worship as a god, but for devotees and followers to practice his teachings in order to end dukkha, end samsara cycles, and to gain awakening themselves.
    • This is what it means for laypersons to have faith and devotion for welfare and success in the future.
  • Personal Application
    • How is your faith and devotion in The Buddha and his enlightenment?
    • Do you have a strong faith that includes devotion, study, and practice of this teachings?
    • How do think you influencing your future rebirth based on your faith and devotion?
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