Alagaddupama Sutta (MN22)

I begin to find this sutta very interesting because there are so many teachings in it… a few similes to expound the Buddha’s teachings and am going to attempt translating its Pāḷi version to English… as my weekend homework.
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I know that I have been using translated Sutta in this blog.  In time to come, I will try to post my translated versions here so that we can learn Pāḷi together ya.
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K.R. Norman, in The Buddhist Forum, Volume V (1994) – “A Philological Approach To Buddhism” wrote:
Prospective research students visit me or write to me and ask what they can do for their doctoral thesis in the field of Pāḷi studies, I say:
“What has not been done needs to be done, and what has been done needs to be done again.”
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Today, I will share one of the similes with you, as a reminder that we should not get attached to what we think are ours…. for they are not… why are they not?  Coz they are impermanent… they are here now and gone the next moment or some time in future, so we should not cling on to them, for if we do, we are just holding on the the past thoughts or emotions or whatever that are changing …  if we learn to abandon them, we will find less sufferings and more peace… may you be well and happy always….
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Not Yours

“Therefore, bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it; when you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. What is it that is not yours? Material form is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. Feeling is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. Perception is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. Formations are not yours. Abandon them. When you have abandoned them, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. Consciousness is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.

“Bhikkhus, what do you think? If people carried off the grass, sticks, branches, and leaves in this Jeta Grove, or burned them, or did what they liked with them, would you think: ‘People are carrying us off or burning us or doing what they like with us’?”—“No, venerable sir. Why not? Because that is neither our self nor what belongs to our self.”—“So too, bhikkhus, whatever is not yours, abandon it; when you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time. What is it that is not yours? Material form is not yours…Feeling is not yours…Perception is not yours…Formations are not yours…Consciousness is not yours. Abandon it. When you have abandoned it, that will lead to your welfare and happiness for a long time.

 

 

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Accepting Death….

“…..You can compare it to household utensils that you’ve had for a long time—your cups, saucers, plates and so on. When you first had them they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long, they’re starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, and those that are left are deteriorating: they have no stable form, and it’s their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way. It has been continually changing right from the day you were born, through childhood and youth, until now it has reached old age. You must accept that. …”

The above is an excerpt from the article, Advice For Someone Who Is Dying, published in the Lion’s Roar site.

This article, by late Ajahn Chah, was first published on January 1, 1994 by permission of the Abbot, Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand.

It has been a long, long time since I read Ajahn’s books.  And reading this article now reminds me of all the books that I have collected during my visits to monestaries and temples, which I have read, passed them to some friends or eventually return to temples so that others have a chance to learn Ajahn’s wisdom.

Yes, all that Ajahn had conveyed are the Buddha’s teachings but somehow learning from him gives a different perspective….. which one can relate to …. cups and saucers, chicken and duck… haha… anyone will be able to understand his message, right?

The Buddha too gives lots of similes in his teachings so that he can reach people from all walks of life to understand his profound teachings… and Ajahn too, simplified some of the teachings further to reach the people during his time.

I have no difficulties talking about death.  It is a fact of life that when one is born one is going to die… while everything else is uncertain, death is definitely certain!  Hence, it is true that ignorant worldlings will find joy in birth and pain in death.  I experienced severe pain when I lost my sister in a car accident in 2008.  I started learning Buddhism in late 2013 and with my understanding about the truth of life, my sufferings reduced tremendously when my uncle died in 2016….. I shed no tears… coz I understand better …

I believe all of us need to understand and accept the facts of life… instead of believing that cause of death may be due to a heart attack etc … it is in fact due to the truth that we were born…. While we still take care of our body so that we can “use” it for as long as it is “useable” in a healthy manner that does not give us too much physical sufferings, we will still need to learn to let go of it anytime… coz we do not know when death will occur… so, while we are alive, let’s think, speak and do things that are wholesome which we will not regret… coz every moment of whatever thought, speech and action could be the last…. left behind as memories of us to those still living….

Let’s be reminded of the Buddha’s teachings in Maranassati Sutta: Mindfulness of Death (AN6.20).

 

Saddhā(Faith) Sutta (AN 5.38 )

“Just as at a crossroads on level ground, a great banyan tree becomes the resort for birds all around, so the clansman endowed with faith becomes the resort for many people: for bhikkhus, bhikkhunīs, male lay followers, and female lay followers.”

A large tree with a mighty trunk,
branches, leaves, and fruit,
firm roots, and bearing fruit,
is a support for many birds.
Having flown across the sky,
the birds resort to this delightful base:
those in need of shade partake of its shade;
those needing fruit enjoy its fruit.

Just so, when a person is virtuous,
endowed with faith,
of humble manner, compliant,
gentle, welcoming, soft,
those in the world who are fields of merit—
devoid of lust and hatred,
devoid of delusion, taintless—
resort to such a person.

They teach him the Dhamma
that dispels all suffering,
having understood which
the taintless one here attains nibbāna.

I am a lover of poetic verses and I find the above really meaningful… and if you read it with a brush in your mind, you could also paint the picture of the verses (especially the first verse) … beautiful, right?

Life teaches us many dhammas as we walk the path and our kamma will make us enjoy or endure the joy or pain along the way… if we walk with faith and we keep walking, we will eventually able to see the truth of the teachings.

There is nothing permanent here… what we deem happy can turn sad in a split second… who we perceive as friends can turn into strangers before a thought moment… every second everything is changing; including ourselves… our thoughts change our speech and our actions… and they, will change someone else’s thoughts, speech and actions… we are all dependent on each other … every action has a reaction, every action has a result…. whether the action is good or bad, they will still bear fruits…  and we, the do-ers, must accept whatever fruits our actions bear… and to do it with an equanimity mind ~ not to be too happy and not to be too sad… for, this too shall pass… happy also will pass, sad also will pass… and since we are still worldlings, let’s practise one of my favourite phrase:  We can choose to live a day happy or a day sad – why not choose to live it happy!  Afterall, we already know nothing lasts forever… definitely not this body in this lifetime….

Have faith and keep walking towards liberation… a step at a time… the longer we walk, the more we will understand Buddha’s teachings… the less we will suffer…

May you be well and happy always…

 

 

Bāhiyasuttam (Ud1.10)

Today I came across an article “How to Find Happiness Where You Least Expect It” from the Psychology Today website, which I find the following quote very interesting indeed:

‘As Leonardo da Vinci is claimed to have said, “An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, talks without thinking.”

Do you know that Buddha has, in the Bāhiyasuttam (Ud1.10) said:
“Tasmātiha te, bāhiya, evaṃ sikkhitabbaṃ: ‘diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ
bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissatī’ti. Evañhi te, bāhiya, sikkhitabbaṃ. Yato kho te, bāhiya, diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, mute mutamattaṃ bhavissati, viññāte viññātamattaṃ bhavissati, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tena tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha; yato tvaṃ, bāhiya, na tattha, tato tvaṃ, bāhiya, nevidha na huraṃ na ubhaya­manta­rena. Esevanto dukkhassā”ti.

which is translated to:
“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In what is seen there must be only what is seen, in what is heard there must be only what is heard, in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized. This is the way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

“And since for you, Bāhiya, in what is seen there will be only what is seen, in what is heard there will be only what is heard, in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed, in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be with that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be with that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be in that; and since, Bāhiya, you will not be in that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two—just this is the end of suffering.

Yes, we have to learn to be mindful at all times in whatever we do; to be aware of what is going on around us; to be present in body and mind with the people with us and to whatever we are attending to…. all without being attached to them or crave for them.

Before learning the Buddha’s teachings, I have also stopped to smell some flowers… sometimes even getting myself attached to them.  However, after learning and practising the Buddha’s teachings, I have discovered that mundane or worldly happiness is short lived, impermanent and will eventually bring me sufferings coz whatever we rely on to give us joy, we will crave for more of it or them and if we do not find it or them, we will find that the joy we long for will turn into sadness.  We have to either find it or them again or find something else that could provide us with the same level or even more joy than the ones that we have used to create those happy feelings.  Or, we will need to learn to LET GO of it or them; to cut off the sufferings we have due to it or them.

Happiness via our senses comes in all forms; from food to our body to someone’s body to some fragrances or sights or colours or touch or music …. anything that you can think of in this world.

I hope you understand this blog post and if you do not, please re-read the above or leave a comment for me to clear your doubts.  Check the article where Leonardo da Vinci’s quote was extracted and read the Sutta too by clicking on the links.

 

Give it a deep thought
and
you may see things as they really are….
may you be well and happy always….

 

 

Is it just “me”?

Someone recently made me think if I am an unlikeable person… Personally, I think I am a pretty friendly person and get along pretty well with people… but somehow this person makes me feel differently… 😭

Is it just “me”?  Is it “my” ego?  Why should “I” be affected by this person?

As a practising Buddhist, I understand exactly what is happening to my thoughts but as a worldling, I feel miserable coz I believe I am the only one getting such treatment…   WHY me???

I have advised my friends not to be affected by other people’s behaviours and speeches… yet, I am not able to handle a similar situation… haizzz….  😓

Guess I still got lots to learn and practise… to constantly remind myself of impermanence, non-self and sufferings (Ti-Lakkhana).

This too shall pass
~ whatever I feel now will pass coz nothing lasts forever…

It is not “me”
~ let go of my “ego” to feel that “I” am so important that “I” must be liked by everyone… this body is only a vehicle that this consciousness is borrowing to try walk the path to liberation…

If I continue to torment my mind, I am inducing sufferings to myself…
one should not hurt self with a second arrow (to the mind) if one arrow is already in the physical body, which may not be avoidable… coz the mind can be tamed through meditation…

So, Linda, get over it!  
It is not worth your time and effort to wonder and ponder!
Live in the present and let go of the past!
Focus on what is more important, which can help you one step nearer to liberation ya…
Gambate!!!

Phew!  I feel so much better now!  Now that I have let it out of my chest!  😅

For better understanding of Anatta (Non-self or Egoless), click here ya.

To all my Noble Friends…

Over the past weeks, a MA study group has been formed to do our master synopsis and studies together.  Only 3 of us doing the MA and yet was supported by another two noble friends in the process.  Awesome!

To me, it is not just having fun learning together and helping each other but also endorsing Buddha’s “…. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path….”  This statement is found in the Upaddha Sutta, SN 45.2.

I am really appreciative and thankful to all my noble friends.  I believe that if not for them, I may not be where I am now.  To repay all their encouragement, support, guidance, patience and company, I will continue to strive harder!  We may separate or part somewhere along the path, but I shall always remember all of you…. yes, anicca and anatta… but my gratitude will carry on till end of this lifetime.  For all you know, it was brought forward from previous lifetimes ya….  ☺️

To all my dear, dear noble friends ~ may you be well, happy and peaceful always…
🙏 🙏 🙏

Don’t get attached!

In the Bāhiya Sutta (Ud 1.1)
the Buddha said:
“Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
That is how you should train yourself.
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that.
When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there.
When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress.”

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I simply love the above sutta!  A great reminder for us not to get attached to what we see, hear or sense coz by doing so, we can avoid suffering of not getting to see, hear or sense them later!  Awesome, right?!

The more we practise the Dhamma, the more we are being released of our sufferings and the most significant of all sufferings (to me) is Attachments – to views, self, things, people and a whole lot…. once we get detached, we will not be affected so much by anyone’s speech or actions… or of impermanence of physical things or people or relationships… Basically, what I want to say is “Just don’t get attached and you will be a carefree person in pursuing your spiritual goal!”  I am trying to achieve that and I hope you will be successful sooner than me, if you are trying too ya…. May you, who are reading this, be well and happy always…  Sadhu!  Sadhu!  Sadhu!