DUKKHA MEETS OVERFLOWING MERIT by Brad Hunter

Overflowing Merit Abhisanda Sutta AN 8.39 Eight streams of merit, consisting in going for refuge and five kinds of gifts. These are abounding resources to aid the reducing, fading, and ending of Dukkha, suffering, and rebirth.

“Monastics, there are these eight kinds of overflowing merit, overflowing goodness. They nurture happiness and are conducive to heaven, ripening in happiness and leading to heaven. They lead to what is likable, desirable, agreeable, to welfare and happiness. What eight?

Firstly, a noble disciple has gone for refuge to the Buddha. This is the first kind of overflowing merit …

Furthermore, a noble disciple has gone for refuge to the teaching. This is the second kind of overflowing merit …

Furthermore, a noble disciple has gone for refuge to the Saṅgha. This is the third kind of overflowing merit …

Monastics, these five gifts are great, original, long-standing, traditional, and ancient. They are uncorrupted, as they have been since the beginning. They’re not being corrupted now nor will they be. Sensible ascetics and brahmins don’t look down on them. What five?

Firstly, a noble disciple gives up killing living creatures. By so doing they give to countless sentient beings the gift of freedom from fear, enmity, and ill will. And they themselves also enjoy unlimited freedom from fear, enmity, and ill will. This is the first gift that is a great offering, original, long-standing, traditional, and ancient. It is uncorrupted, as it has been since the beginning. It’s not being corrupted now nor will it be. Sensible ascetics and brahmins don’t look down on it. This is the fourth kind of overflowing merit …

Furthermore, a noble disciple gives up stealing. …

Furthermore, a noble disciple gives up sexual misconduct. … This is the sixth kind of overflowing merit …

Furthermore, a noble disciple gives up lying. … This is the seventh kind of overflowing merit …

Furthermore, a noble disciple gives up alcoholic drinks that cause negligence. By so doing they give to countless sentient beings the gift of freedom from fear, enmity, and ill will. And they themselves also enjoy unlimited freedom from fear, enmity, and ill will. This is the fifth gift that is a great offering, original, long-standing, traditional, and ancient. It is uncorrupted, as it has been since the beginning. It’s not being corrupted now nor will it be. Sensible ascetics and brahmins don’t look down on it. This is the eighth kind of overflowing merit …

These are the eight kinds of overflowing merit, overflowing goodness. They nurture happiness and are conducive to heaven, ripening in happiness and leading to heaven. They lead to what is likable, desirable, agreeable, to welfare and happiness.”FULL SUTTA:https://suttacentral.net/an8.39/en/sujato

IGNORANCE (AVIJJA) & DUKKHA Facing the fear of knowing Dukkha By Upāsaka Steve Lin

“And what is ignorance, what is the origin of ignorance, what is the cessation of ignorance, what is the way leading to the cessation of ignorance?”

“Not knowing about dukkha, not knowing about the origin of dukkha, not knowing about the cessation of dukkha, not knowing about the way leading to the cessation of dukkha — this is called ignorance.”“With the arising of the taints there is the arising of ignorance; with the cessation of the taints there is the cessation of ignorance. The way leading to the cessation of ignorance is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view… right concentration.”— MN 9 (Ñanamoli/Bodhi, trans.)

Because ignorance is the root cause of dukkha…”From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications… comes consciousness. From consciousness… name-&-form. From name-&-form… the six sense media. From the six sense media… contact. From contact… feeling. From feeling…craving. From craving… clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance… becoming. From becoming… birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering….when it ceases, so too must dukkha cease”Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.”— SN 12.2https://www.accesstoinsight.org/…/sacca/sacca2/avijja.html

Progress in awakening & release from Dukkha must eventually include seclusion & solitude. By Upāsaka Steve Lin

“If wanderers who follow other paths were to ask you: ‘But what reasons and evidence do you have regarding those venerables that justifies saying, “Clearly those venerables are free of greed, hate, and delusion, or practicing to be free of them”?’ You should answer them: ‘It’s because those venerables frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest.”FULL SUTTA:https://suttacentral.net/mn150/en/sujato

DHAMMA TALK with Path Press (Hillside Hermitage)

📌 “SOLITUDE ISN’T OPTIONAL” By Nyanamoli Thero Nagaravindeyya Sutta MN 150

“If wanderers who follow other paths were to ask you: ‘But what reasons and evidence do you have regarding those venerables that justifies saying, “Clearly those venerables are free of greed, hate, and delusion, or practicing to be free of them”?’

“You should answer them: ‘It’s because those venerables frequent remote lodgings in the wilderness and the forest.”

“In such places there are no sights known by the eye to see and enjoy, there are no sounds known by the ear to hear and enjoy, no odors known by the nose to smell and enjoy, no flavors known by the tongue to taste and enjoy, and no touches known by the body to feel and enjoy.”

“These are the reasons and evidence that you have regarding those venerables that justifies saying, “Clearly those venerables are free of greed, hate, and delusion, or practicing to be free of them”.’ When questioned by wanderers who follow other paths, that’s how you should answer them.”

“When he had spoken, the brahmins and householders of Nagaravinda said to the Buddha, “Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent”

“As if he were righting the overturned, or revealing the hidden, or pointing out the path to the lost, or lighting a lamp in the dark so people with good eyes can see what’s there, Master Gotama has made the Teaching clear in many ways.”

“We go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha. From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember us as lay followers who have gone for refuge for life.”FULL SUTTA:https://suttacentral.net/mn150/en/sujato

USE PROTECTION TO PREVENT DUKKHA by Upāsaka Steve Lin

📌 The Peak of the Roof Kuta Sutta (AN 3:110)Gain protection from the three forms of kamma.

“Then Anāthapiṇḍika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed to him, sat to one side.

“As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him: ‘Householder, when the mind is unprotected, bodily actions are unprotected as well, verbal actions are unprotected as well, mental actions are unprotected as well.’” (3 types of kamma)

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions are unprotected, one’s bodily actions get soggy, one’s verbal actions get soggy, one’s mental actions get soggy.”

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions are soggy, one’s bodily actions… verbal actions… mental actions rot.”

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions rot, inauspicious is one’s death, inauspicious one’s passing away.’”

“Just as when a peak-roofed house is poorly roofed: The peak of the roof is unprotected, the roof beams are unprotected, the walls are unprotected. The peak of the roof… the roof beams… the walls get soggy. The peak of the roof… the roof beams… the walls then rot.”

“In the same way, when the mind is unprotected, bodily actions… verbal actions… mental actions are unprotected as well.… One’s bodily… verbal… mental actions get soggy… One’s bodily… verbal… mental actions rot. When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions rot, inauspicious is one’s death, inauspicious one’s passing away.”

“Now, when the mind is protected, bodily actions are protected as well, verbal actions are protected as well, mental actions are protected as well.”

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions are protected, one’s bodily actions… verbal actions… mental actions don’t get soggy.”

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions aren’t soggy, one’s bodily actions… verbal actions… mental actions don’t rot.”

“When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions don’t rot, auspicious is one’s death, auspicious one’s passing away.”

“Just as when a peak-roofed house is well roofed: The peak of the roof is protected, the roof beams are protected, the walls are protected. The peak of the roof… the roof beams… the walls don’t get soggy. The peak of the roof… the roof beams… the walls don’t rot.”

“In the same way, when the mind is protected, bodily actions… verbal actions… mental actions are protected as well… One’s bodily… verbal… mental actions don’t get soggy… One’s bodily… verbal… mental actions don’t rot.” “When one’s bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions don’t rot, auspicious is one’s death, auspicious one’s passing away.”See also: SN 3:5; SN 35:202; SN 48:52; AN 3:129; Khp 5; Thag 1:1Full Sutta:https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN3_110.html

“… the Realized One “WOKE UP”

(awakened/enlightened) by understanding the middle way, which gives vision and knowledge, and leads to peace, direct knowledge, awakening, and extinguishment.

“And what is that middle way? It is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion. This is that middle way, which gives vision and knowledge, and leads to peace, direct knowledge, awakening, and extinguishment.”

“Now this is the noble truth of suffering. Rebirth is suffering; old age is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering; association with the disliked is suffering; separation from the liked is suffering; not getting what you wish for is suffering. In brief, the five grasping aggregates are suffering.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn56.11/en/sujato 

THE NOBLE TRUTH OF DUKKHA

 Rolling Forth the Wheel of Dhamma
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta SN 56.11

”Now this is the noble truth of suffering.

📌 Rebirth is suffering;
📌 old age is suffering;
📌 illness is suffering;
📌 death is suffering;
📌 association with the disliked is suffering;
📌 separation from the liked is suffering;
📌 not getting what you wish for is suffering.

 In brief, the five grasping aggregates are suffering.

FULL SUTTA

https://suttacentral.net/sn56.11/en/sujato 

DUKKHA – SUFFERING.

Welcome to the Dhamma Study Series. The purpose of this dhamma study series is to better understand The Buddha’s teachings on Dukkha, or as often referred to as, suffering. Over the next four weeks, we will be looking at a variety of suttas that help us understand The Buddha’s definition of Dukkha (Pali) and how he used the term in his teachings.

📌 During the first week we will focus on suttas that help to define dukkha including the use of the term in The Buddha’s teaching about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

📌 The second week will be much deeper as we look at “cause and affect” as it is taught by The Buddha in the suttas about Dependent Origination.

📌 In the third week of the series, we will look at how dukkha and suffering are a part of our daily lifestyle. We will look at some of the typical trends, choices, and causes of suffering that exist in today’s modern world.

📌 In the final week, we will study the “way out of suffering” and will focus on The Buddha’s teachings about ending suffering, gaining freedom from samsara cycles of rebirth, and find peace in the present moments. During this study, we will be have various dhamma talk videos from various Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, lay men, and lay women. Each day there will be a post of The Daily Cushion that helps to integrate sutta teachings with meditation practice. The translation teams will continue to translate the core teaching posts of “Deep Dig” and “The Pali League” teachings. These are the two core places of teaching that is translated into other languages and made available to our diverse and international members. We hope you find this series meaningful and helpful. Please feel free to invite others who also might find this series a benefit to their seeking, their learning, and their practice. From Steve and the Daily Dhamma Team

THE DAILY CUSHION

📜 DIGHA NIKAYA 11 – Kevaṭṭa Sutta

“The Ending of Name (mind) & Form (body)” by Steve Lin

” When he said this, I said to him:

‘Once upon a time, mendicant, some sea-merchants set sail for the ocean deeps, taking with them a land-spotting bird. When their ship was out of sight of land, they released the bird. It flew right away to the east, the west, the north, the south, upwards, and in-between. If it saw land on any side, it went there and stayed. But if it saw no land on any side it returned to the ship.

 In the same way, after failing to get an answer to this question even after searching as far as the Brahmā realm, you’ve returned to me.

Mendicant, this is not how the question should be asked: “Sir, where do these four primary elements cease without anything left over, namely, the elements of earth, water, fire, and air?”

This is how the question should be asked:

“Where do water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;
where do long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
where do name (nama)and form (rupa)
cease with nothing left over?”

And the answer to that is:

“Consciousness that’s invisible,
infinite, radiant all round.
Here’s where water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;
here’s where long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
here’s where name (nama) and form (rupa)
cease with nothing left over—
with the cessation of consciousness,
that’s where this ceases.”’”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the householder Kevaddha was happy with what the Buddha said.

– Last section of the sutta

📌 FULL SUTTA IN YOUTUBE:

👉🏽https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
👉🏾 The section of the study is (1:10) in YouTube.

📌 FULL SUTTA- https://suttacentral.net/dn11/en/sujato

📜 THREE INSIGHTS FROM SUTTA

📌 Kevaddha and others wanted to know how to end rebirth of the body elements.

📌 Even Brahma and the divine realms didn’t know.

📌 The Buddha teaches that it’s not only about body (four elements) to end, it’s about mind & body together. This is a portion of the“dependent origination” steps he teaches.

👉🏾 Ending rebirth (NĀMARŪPA) requires the ending of consciousness (viññāna). This is why meditation practice is essential.

😌 TIPS FOR MEDITATION

👉🏽 Contemplate … that “ending rebirth can only happen in the mind” by ending ignorance and sankhara mind conditions.

👉🏽 Review & contemplate the order of “Dependent Origination” and how ignorance and sankhara mind conditions are causes of consciousness.

👉🏽 Use meditation time to observe and release those things that are fueling and contributing to consciousness.

🙏 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.

👉 TRIPLE GEM (1-2 min)

📌 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 kamma (intentions) are a cause to mind conditions (sankhara).

👉🏽 Contemplate reduction of kamma (intentions), especially wrongful or ignoble actions of intention

👉🏽 Observe ignorance & sankhara mind conditions that fuel mind consciousness…

👉🏽 Observe the way consciousness fuels “Nāmarūpa” (mind/body).

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html?fbclid=IwAR0SpNTC7fqzmcb4U5R9WxMCwDSsDdf9C00zM40rgcSCD-N7nQSt0-TAQfo

THE DAILY CUSHION

📜 DIGHA NIKAYA 10 – Subha Sutta

“DEEP BLISS ARISES WHEN THE FIVE HINDRANCES END” by Brad Hunter

☀️ “In the same way, as long as these five hindrances are not given up inside themselves, a mendicant regards them as a debt, a disease, a prison, slavery, and a desert crossing.

☀️ But when these five hindrances are given up inside themselves, a mendicant regards this as freedom from debt, good health, release from prison, emancipation, and sanctuary.

☀️ Seeing that the hindrances have been given up in them, joy springs up.

📌 Being joyful, rapture springs up.
📌 When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil.
📌 When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss.
📌 And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed.

☀️ Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first (Jhana) absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected.

☀️ They drench, steep, fill, and spread their body with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. There’s no part of the body that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of seclusion.

From Section 2. The Spectrum of Immersion (excerpt)

FULL SUTTA –
https://suttacentral.net/dn10/en/sujato

📜 BLISS:

📌 PĪTI – Joy

📌 SUKHA – Happiness

Subha Sutta—with Subha

“But when these five hindrances are given up inside themselves, a mendicants regard this as freedom from debt, good health, release from prison, emancipation, and sanctuary. Seeing that the hindrances have been given up in them, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed. Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, they enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. They drench, steep, fill, and spread their body with rapture and bliss born of seclusion. There’s no part of the body that’s not spread with rapture and bliss born of seclusion.”

TEACHINGS FROM THIS PASSAGE

• When the hindrances are absent—even for a moment—joy begins to well up.

• Staying with the ‘internal’ felt sense of joy (‘secluded’ from the outer world), rapture, tranquility and bliss can begin to spread throughout the body.

• The entire body becomes suffused with these pleasant sensations while the mind remains content, clear and ‘connected’ to the experience itself.

MELTING THE HINDRANCES—CLEARING THE PATHEMBODIED METTA MEDITATION

• Take a few kind breaths, releasing tension and calming the body formation… Bring to mind the goodness that brings you to the practice, the basic orientation of non-harming in your heart. Feel joy and confidence in that. Take a few moments to consider the obstacles and difficulties in your life that you’ve overcome. Feel joy and confidence in your perseverance and insight. Think of the peace that you touch into in meditation, however fleeting and tentative it may seem. Feel joy and confidence in this ‘little’ peace and ease. Appreciate that this narrow entryway can open into the depths of wisdom and serenity.

• Bring attention to the right side of the body. Breathe kindness and goodwill deep into the body from the right side. (2 minutes) Breathe kindness and goodwill deep into the body from the left side. (2 minutes) Repeat with the front of the body, the back, below and above. (2 minutes or longer for each direction)

• Suffusing, pervading, soaking the body in kindness and goodwill. Leaving no part of the body untouched by this breath awareness, imbued with kindness and goodwill.

• Hold a soft, spacious focus in the heart space. Begin breathing compassion and forgiveness into and throughout the body. Permeating every cell of the body with compassion and forgiveness. Leaving no part of the body untouched.

• Still abiding, centered in the heart space, breathing in gladness and joy. Feel it soaking from the narrower passage of the physical breath in the core of the body, outwards through the organs, bloodstream, nervous system, bones and marrow, flesh, muscles and skin. Then, breathing in gladness and joy through the pores to skin, soaking in through skin, muscle, flesh, organs, bloodstream, nervous system, bones and marrow. Every nerve and cell receiving gladness and joy, being soothed by and rejoicing in the presence of gladness and joy. Leaving no part of the body untouched. Allow this pleasant abiding to deepen into silence, stillness and tranquility. Without being forced it may naturally open into equanimity.

MEDITATION TIPS

• Study the hindrances and the imagery/similes for the hindrances, and learn the antidotes for each and begin to practice them. http://www.noblepath.org/…/The_Five_Hindrances_and…

• Trust that cultivating fully-embodied, wakeful awareness, imbued with kindness, compassion, joy and peace, will eventually dissolve all hindrances.

• Treat the hindrances as opportunities to grow the path, rather than enemies. (Aversion, for example, only piles aversion upon aversion, fuels doubt and self-doubt, increases restlessness and worry, can lead to simply giving up and going into stupor, or running off seeking satisfaction in sensory pleasures.)

• Cultivate patient endurance for the most stubborn or your hindrances. Often they are ‘masking’ unhealed wounds, ancient sankharas that are driving much of our behavior and providing rickety scaffolding to shore up personality view. Going beyond the hindrances can yield spiritual treasure where one had assumed only poverty. There is the possibility of finally healing places that we thought would remain forever raw and painful.

“In our lives we have two possibilities: indulging in the world or going beyond the world. The Buddha was someone who was able to free himself from the world and thus realized spiritual liberation. In the same way, there are two types of knowledge: knowledge of the worldly realm and knowledge of the spiritual, or true wisdom. If we have not yet practiced and trained ourselves, no matter how much knowledge we have, it is still worldly, and thus can not liberate us. Think and really look closely! The Buddha said that things of the world spin the world around. Following the world, the mind is entangled in the world, it defiles itself whether coming or going, never remaining content. Worldly people are those who are always looking for something, never finding enough. Worldly knowledge is really ignorance; it isn’t knowledge with clear understanding, therefore there is never an end to it. It revolves around the worldly goals of accumulating things, gaining status, seeking praise and pleasure; it’s a mass of delusion which has us stuck fast.” (Ajahn Chah)

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