Wisdom in Practice - Vipassana Bhāvanā - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Wisdom in Practice - Vipassana Bhāvanā

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammāsanbuddhassa

Wisdom in practise:
Vipassana Bhāvanā
Ācariya S. N. Goenka
Lecture Three at Fourth World Buddhist Summit, Yangon, Myanmar
December 9 to 11. 2004

Most venerable Saṅgha and Dhamma friends:
In this lecture we will discuss the most important as back to a The Buddha’s teaching: paññā, the experiential wisdom. If the teaching of The Buddha is fruitfull only when one practices it.

When the Buddha gave his first discourse at Isipatana in Migadāya to his five fellow ascetics, He said that these four truths are real noble truths only when one experiences each truth in three ways - Tiparivaṭṭaṃ dvādasākāraṃ.

What is dukkha according to the Buddha? “Yaṃ kiñci devayitaṃ, taṃ dukkhasmin’ti.”  Whatever you experience within the framework of the body is all dukkha.

When one transcends the entire field of mind and matter an experiences nibbāna which is beyond mind and matter-where nothing arises, nothing passes away, nothing dies because nothing arises – it can be said that one has understood the entire field of dukkhabecause one has now reached beyond the field of dukkha.

One’s own personal experience is very important. Somebody says that the cake is very sweet. One may accept this just because someone is saying so. One may go a step beyond and reason, “It is sweet because there is sugar in it.” But one gets the benefit of its taste only when one actually puts it in the mouth. The taste of the pudding lies in eating it.

It is the same with the Four Noble truths - One accepts that everywhere there is dukkha. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, man or woman - all around there is suffering. Old age, disease, death, grief, lamenting … dissociation from that which one likes and association with one doesn’t like; wanted things don’t happen, unwanted things happen; in short, attachment to the five aggregates is dukkha.

The Buddha said: “… dukkhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ pariññeyyaṃ… One must explore the entire field of dukkha, up to the last boundary beyond which there is no dukkha.

One has to explore the entire field of mine and matter. In the beginning one understands only at the intellectual level based on reasoning.

When people come to meditation courses, initially they feel pain, pressure, heaviness, itching ect - many unpleasant sensations. They understand and realize for themselves at this stage that every sensation plesant or unpleasant passes away sooner or later. They experience the arising (udaya) and the passing away (vaya).

After a few days many students reach of stay where the entire soidity of the body gets dissolved. One starts experiencing that everything in the field of mind and matter is mere vibrations, kalāpas - Arising, passing, arising and passing with great rapidity. This is what he called samudayavaya-dhammānupassī viharati in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta. Everything is so impermanent, so ephermeral. There is no solidity.

Is is very easy to accept the dukkhā-vedanā as dukkha. One accepts this as dukkha because it is very unpleasant. But if a mediator lacks wisdom, he gets carried away by the pleasant experience of total dissolution; baṅga.

A wise meditator understands the impermanent nature of bhaṅgaand continues to be equanimous. One understands that bhaṅga is a frightening and dangerous situation because there is great danger of developing attachment to this stage. The more pleasant the experience, the greater is the attachment and hence the greater is the misery one experiences when it passes away.

Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, uppajjitvā nirujjhanti. Deep rooted saṅkhāras rise to the surface and get eradicated because one is enquanimous with the understanding of anicca, dukkha, and anatta at the experialtial level and one doesn’t generate new saṅkharas in response to (the ripening of) the old ones.

One clearly sees that there is no essense in what one calls “I” or “mine”. It is mere illusion.

Suññamidaṃ attena vā attaniyena vā …

Then one reaches the final purification and attains the path (magga) and the fruit (phala) of the four stages of liberation from stream-enterer (sotāpanna) to a completely liberated one (arahanta).
Only when one has experienced nibbāna, it can be said that one has explored the entire field of dukkhadukkhaṃ aritasaccaṃ pariññātaṃ
Similarly for the Second Noble Truth the Buddha explained: dukkha samudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ…dukkhasamudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ pahātabbaṃ… dukkha-samudayaṃ ariyasaccaṃ pahīnaṃ. This is the cause of dukkha, the cause has to be irradiated and the cause is eradicated. Thus one has realized the Second Noble Truth in three ways.
Then the Buddha talks about the Third Noble Truth: Dukkhanirodhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ…dukkhanirodhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ sacchikātabbaṃ… dukkhanirodhaṃ ariyasaccaṃ sacchikataṃ. This is the truth about the extinction of suffering, it has to be realized and it is realized. Thus one completes the Third Noble Truth in three aspects.

Finally the Buddha explains his experience of The Fourth Noble Truth: dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā ariyasaccaṃ… dukkha-nirodhagāminī paṭipadā ariyasaccaṃ bhāvetabbaṃ… dukkha-nirodhagāminī paṭipadā ariyasaccaṃ bhāvitaṃ. This is the way out of suffering, it has to be practiced and it has been practiced to its completion. Thus one develops the Fourth Noble Truth in three aspects.

The Vipassana Bhavana (vipassanā bhāvanā) one moves from olariko (gross) to sukhumā (subtle). The Buddha’s teaching takes one from the gross to the subtle… to the subtler… to the subtlest reality beyond the mind and matter. One starts with paññatti, the apparent truth of mind and matter, which is gross, solidified truth; one analyzes it, divides it, dissects it at the experiental level based on the wisdom of impermanence. One goes beyond the apparent truth of mind (citta and cetasika) and matter to reach the paramattha of mind and matter and finally the paramatha of nibbāna which is the truth beyond mind and matter – the ultimate truth of Nibbāna.


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