Being A Buddhist

Dicussions on Buddism

Archive for the tag “enlightenment”

Benefits of the walking meditation

Today, I got the chance to listen to benefits of walking meditation.  So here are the benefits that I’d missed last time.

The person who practice meditation on walking

1. would have his patience increased.

2. would be free of  sleepiness/ sloth and drowsiness. and his courage would be increased.

3. his sicknesses would be reduced at present or in future also.

4. food he’s eaten would be digested really well.

5. and will be able to keep his samadhi much longer –  When a samdhi (The state of consciousness induced by complete meditation)  is gained by meditating, it is said to be hard to keep for a long time, due to the thoughts that would occur in mind having desire for it. Practicing the walking meditation is said to increase the ability of keeping it much longer on mind.

I was happy to see that, first and second benefits showing that fifth and  sixth  virtues of dasa parami (viriya and  patience)  being developed  easily, as well as the sixth of Nobel eightfold path – the right effort. And also that practicing this  making my concentration more powerful  So this seems more beneficial  than I used to know.

The best Buddhist meditation type? Samatha or Wipassana!

There are two major categories of Buddhist meditations.  Samatha (Samadhi) and Wipassana. Why are there two?  and,  what could be the best?

As I ‘ve already mentioned before,  meditations similar to types in Samatha had had already existed before the time of His holiness Lord Buddha. It is clear from the history, that there had been some meditators who had achieved it’s  highest level at that time. One such person was the teacher of king Suddhodana, Asitha Kaladewala ( father of prince Siddhartha:His  holiness lord Buddha’s laymen life’s). He was said to had the ability to travel to the heavens by his mere wish, additional to achieving the furthest state  of Samatha meditation. A lot of such meditators are heard of having many supernatural abilities by developing mind using meditation knowledge that existed at that time.

But then, Wipassana meditation type had been never known before his holiness lord Buddha himself discovered and taught it to this world. Which unveils the path to Nirvana / final enlightenment. And unlike those meditations, that were kept and shared only  among higher casts, His holiness lord Buddha let anyone to learn and practice his holiness’s teachings to enlightenment.

His holiness lord Buddha himself had tried all those  knowledge that existed at the time before starting to look for a new method  to achieve the liberation from sufferings. So his holiness had also tried various available types of Samatha meditation at the time. And after achieving enlightenment, his holiness had recommended to use Samatha meditation to develop mind,  needed for the path. But had given own instructions on how to practice them differently from those ways known where needed. So original teachings of Buddhist Samatha meditation types are known different from those were before that time.  However it seems that some of the elder teachers had/have introduce and teach their experiences and beliefs when teaching their students.

So when considering  about the second one,  deciding the best. The reality is, in general, when we are to meditate as beginners these both types could come in handy. Because one type could help to reduce different unwanted qualities in mind and other some other qualities.
So Samatha which is the very best to achieve qualities  like consciousness or calm,  and then  Wipassana for qualities like insight or prajna,  both,  could be specified for a particular person based on his personality.

The first to decide, the best for a person, is to know exactly what he or she wants to achieve by meditating. If he is interested in achieving the depth of wisdom of Buddhist teachings, then sticking to Samathya will never take him to his desired destination.So practicing it even after achieving the status of mind he need to move on the path, would only  delay his desired journey.   Wipassana or insight meditation, on the other hand, would help to achieve any stage of enlightenment, where Samatha will never give any of the stages, despite of how much or how long he may practice it. The status that are available to a samatha meditator are the status of Dhyana/jhana. That would  increase his mind to various status and reduce negative qualities of mind, but all in  temporarily, but still which would definitely determine his next birth place.

So if a meditator is interested in ending, permanently, his sufferings  and rebirth, he should definitely chose Wipassana and should consider Samatha only as some mean to improve his meditation and to distract any unwanted qualities in his mind.

On Meditation

First of all I have to say I’m not a committed meditator, But I’ve heard lot of people discussing on meditation and some of them do not seem to have  some of the basics . Not that I claim to know most of them,  may be a tiny bit only, I have read some books on meditation, even attended some sessions ( not many) from a well known meditation center near my home town. But still, I know I’m at the lowest step. Still it may keep you on the right track, and may help you to start your journey, and may  help to get to your destination if you seek for needed  knowledge from the correct source.

Having said that I thought discussing something about meditation is needed, as I couldn’t find a suitable resource I promised in one of my posts to a friend I’ve met on the net. Actually I’ve been really busy these days and I couldn’t help being so late starting an answer for her, as I could not find resources (may be I didn’t search enough ) on basics for a beginner  to use. So I was thinking to post my knowledge about some types of meditation and how to start and also some resources I’ve used. So here we go.

What do you think of meditation?

Well, some people seem to think meditation is all that is taught in Buddhism or some of them think we can use it alone and have the complete effect from it for consolation or enlightenment as anyone else. Both these are not true as I know. I do not mean here, it’s useless to meditate without using it properly. Of course, it is a most useful method whatever way it is used, for it may gift you great abilities you never knew before. Only issue is that you have to use it properly to get the complete effect, as anything else. Some say it is like a medicine. But, Not that it is like a medicine, but  it is actually is a medicine. A medicine for mind prescribed by world’s greatest philosopher his holiness Lord Buddha. As any other treatment it also needs full dose in proper way to effect to full and cure completely.

So  I decided  from today on, to post discussions by topics on meditation, even may be not sequentially, but a series connected by links. I thought that would work better for all us.

A Truth

There’s a truth we do not like anyone to remind us of or remembered by ourselves. But still something we all will be facing sooner or later, the eternal truth of death. How matter death may sound strange, it is a truth about our being, once born have to face death. One we all have inherited without being treated differently.

With birth one brings death into life and  carries it everywhere with him, even though, how much he completely ignores it  or treats it as a totally unusual subject to bring up to discussion. But let’s face the fact that we all have to face death. Facing something is a better way to handle it than running away from it, and is a well  known wisdom .

In Buddhism “thinking of death in connection with Dhamma” is a type of well praised meditation (Maranānussati: ‘recollection of death’). One of the four meditations that are recommended as a Buddhist’s general meditation. An easy way to reduce and get rid of the fear of facing death. More importantly a method to stop idling in life and move oneself enthusiastically for success in both, life and enlightenment path.

Worthy Friends

Yesterday I have listened to ” Dhamma (nava) sutta ” in Sutta Nipatha  on radio, describing that having  associations, with worthy men, advance our movement to the enlightenment.

His holiness Buddha has said, that a Buddhist should have talent for the path and whoever have an association with such talented worthy men, himself becomes talented and such an association would never deliver bad effects.

We all have associates, but have we ever considered  if they are helpful in our liberation? There’s such iinstructions on how to identify a fruitful  association to a Buddhist. it includes four facts, and needs all of them to be satisfied. They are, we should check whether,

by an association with a certain person

  • have we  engaged in ( deeds that deliver ) merits we’ve never had done before
  • have the merits we already have improved
  • have we never engage in  (deeds that deliver ) demerits we’ve never had done before
  • have the demerits we already have are suppressed or vanished

If we have, then we have come across a worthy friend . But still it says how to identify a worthy man. He should have these three characteristics.

  • Be a virtuous person who has control on his actions, words and thoughts and follow percepts
  • should have a good knowledge on Dhamma and should usually analyze Dhamma and understand it well.
  • should be wise and intellectual, knowing truth about world ( living ). Most probably some one who has lessened desire for senses.

If we haven’t been lucky so far

  • we can recognize worthy men from above and
  • then become associated with them
  • and receive directions

As worthy men never approve demerits, they would always try prevent their associates from doing wrong and take to the right track. So we will have the opportunity to receive right advice. If we ever open up about our hidden weakness, they would help us to correct them. So such a worthy man also becomes a good noble friend ( kalyana mittha ) to anyone associated with him.

As Buddhists can be at different stages on their path, one person can have better values than another person. So the most intelligent thing is, making friends with worthy men as many as we could find, and then we’ll be able to get more and more advises.

As his holiness Buddha has advised us on our path, that we should individually discover it from our own intelligence ( posts:  Buddhism and the difference from other paths and Basics: How to know your path ), we could analyze and work out our way to enlightenment,  with the guidance of these noble, worthy friends.

Early life of Lord Buddha : Childhood – part two

I have started to tell about His holiness Buddha’s early life in my post: Lord Buddha :Early Life – Childhood  I’m going to add tell little more in this one.

When Prince Siddhartha was only seven days old, his mother “Mahamaya devi” had passed away. Afterwards he had been raised by his mother’s younger sister “Prajapathi Gautami”,  who also was already married to  his father. In ancient India kings could have many wives. Prince Siddhanta’s father King Suddodana had also married  the two daughters of a king of a nearby country. From a  conversation, with  his holiness Buddha   and aged Prajapathi theri, It can be understood that even the prince has lost the warmth of his own mother, he had received so much love and warmth from every one else, specially from his aunt Prajapathi.

Threshing

Threshing

Bullocks tied with yoke

Bullocks tied with yoke

There is a story about a sowing feast, when the prince was an infant. First harvesting had been  done as a festival attended by the king. Everyone in the palace had come to see this festival  So  prince  was also brought and kept  in a tent where festival can be seen. While he was asleep, nannies  had gone out to have a close look. Meanwhile the prince had  waken up  and no one else were nearby.

image : Buffaloes Threshing

Buffaloes used to Thresh in a field

Picture of a Yoke, today

Picture of a Yoke, today

The prince could have seen the buffaloes threshing, and men after them with sticks. Watching how the animals suffer with the weight of yoke and beatings with sticks  had made him remember what he had learned and practiced in his previous lives. So he had seated and started meditating based on  breath. When nannies came back to check on him they were shocked to see the young prince meditating and they had alarmed the king and the others.

It says that the king honored the little prince for the second time touching his feet, seeing that the prophecy could become true. Even it was a  pleasure to see by a father,  it had also increased his fear about his son becoming the savior of the sufferers, other than the great king he wished him to become one day.


Information on the Path to Enlightenment (Dhamma Savana )

volumes of tripitaka

Volumes of Tripitaka

What would we do if  we have to go on an expedition. Most of us will find information about the journey first and arrange what we may need on the way, carefully They may be money, baggage, other necessities or a method to get them when we need credit cards, friends , hotels, etc). All these would be helpful to go on our trip comfortably. If any traveler starts after carefully arranging everything he may need on the way he would be more comfortable, fast and success oriented to carry out his task . So will be us as Buddhists on our way to liberation.

How should a Buddhist prepare for his journey?

Earlier I have said that a Buddhist should have four assets. First of them which is ” having a noble friend “. that lead us to obtain information about our way to enlightenment.

But then get exact information to go fast, does not look like an easy task. It would have been easier if we were lucky to meet Lord Buddha alive. But we aren’t. We are here after 2550 years later . But still we are lucky enough  to hear Lord Buddha’s teachings via generations of his students. So we can learn from, what is left at the present  and try to figure our way.

As a kid  I was crazy on reading adventures about treasure hunting. I think path to enlightenment also look like a finding a lost treasure hidden centuries ago. A treasure hunter may try various methods to get his information. He may check in libraries and analyze maps, related books, history, listen to  locals and their  tales, find guidance that could be trusted, etc. Finally he would decide on those he gathered and plan a strategy.

image of Monk teaching a student

Monk teaching a student

But then as Buddhists  we don’t have much difficulties as a  treasure hunter. We have the access to  teachings of lord Buddha that were  protected from the start by theravadists ( there may be many other resources in other branches, too). So there are guidance and could get a clear idea of what we have to do.

Remember, Lord Buddha has told us that :

( Buddhism and the difference from other paths )

  • Dhamma is well told in whole i.e. at the start, at the middle and at the end

and that

  • The path has to be understood and experienced by own intelligence of each person.
So what we have to do is  listen,  read, discuss and then analyze Dhamma carefully ( That is ” Dhamma savana “, the second of the assets in  Fortune of a Buddhist. ).

Then  we are able to discover our path.

Fortune of a Buddhist: kalyana mitta sevana

So let’s continue from my previous post . A Buddhist also  should have  a wealth or a fortune to continue his journey Then he is prepared  for  hindrances he might come across. The four assets I stated in that post would aid in our way. Let’s start with the first.

  1. Kalyana mitta sevana

What is meant by the word?   kalyana mitta is for ” spiritual friend, good friend, virtuous friend, noble friend or admirable friend ” and  sevana is for ” acquaintance with “

So “Kalyana mitta sevana”  means “acquaintance with a kalyana mitta or noble friend or…”.

Before we become  friends with any one what we have to do is, recognize such a person. So I think, it’s  better if we get to  know about  noble friend, before anything else.

When we are talking about the path to enlightment, kalyana mitta  is a good person that :

  •  who follows the path taught by Lord Buddha for his own enlightenment ( so he has knowledge about it, when he choose to give any advice about it)
  • and not only that, but he would direct and help others to follow their own.

Because of these, he becomes a noble fried to a Buddhist.

image of Lord Buddha Teaching Dhamma to a group of  Monks

Lord Buddha Teaching Dhamma to a group of Monks and some Gods listening above

When you’ve found such a friend ( made acquaintance with a kalyana mitta ) you now have the first of the four assets, that is: “Kalyana mitta sevana”

Why is it called as an  asset?. Because this friendship would  benefit us :

  •  We may be introduced to triple gems if we are not aware of it
  • We may be given information, we never knew before, on one or more of triple gems.
  • He may help us to improve our knowledge and  the progress in our journey
  • He  would direct  us to right track if we are making mistakes when following our path.
  • etc.

Whatever they are, the final outcome of having a noble friend,  will be that, we would be gifted with the chance to hear the teachings of lord Buddha.(i.e. Dhamma Savana  the second of the four assets ) dropping us to the path, that ends sufferings.

Fortune of a Buddhist

In my last post:  Basics: How to know your path I have said that ” to go along the path, you need to start analyzing using Dhamma. For that  at least basics of Dhamma are needed “

His holiness Buddha has stated anyone wants to achieve enlightenment (nirvana) , should be equipped with four assets to start and continue. They are :

  1. Kalyana mittha sevana :      Having spiritual friendship, good companionship, good comradeship , admirable friendship.  i.e. association with kalyanamittas( spiritual friends). When you have spiritual friendship You would be able to have the second
  2. Dhamma savana:     Listening to true Dhamma .This will guide you to have the third.
  3. Yoniso manaikara:     Noble thoughts or thinking with mindfulness and  intelligence. This will guide you to have the Fourth.
  4. Dhammanudhamma patipada:     Practicing Dhamma or living according to Dhamma.


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