The Fact Of Existent

These videos proofs the existent of past life

Reincarnation, past life on proof positive

boy reincarnated

Reincarnation, children remember past life, part 1

Reincarnation, the amazing story of a scottish child, Part 1

Edited extractions from the writing of Bhikkhu Bodhi


We see a tremendous variety among the living beings existing in the world.
People and animals are of many different sorts.

So we ask what is it that causes rebirth in a particular form?
Does it happen through acccident, by chance, without any reason, or is there some principle behind it?

The answer the Buddha gives to this question is the Pali word 'Kamma'.

Kamma is the factor which determines the specific form of rebirth and it is Kamma again which determines a good number of the experiences we undergo in the course of our life.


The word Kamma means literally action, deed or doing. But in Buddhism it means volitional action.

Of all forces the force of the mind is the most potential. It predominates every other force. It is a power by itself and within itself.

The Buddhist point of view is that the mind or consciousness is the core of our existence.
All our Psychological experiences such as pain and pleasure, sorrow and happiness good and evil, life and death are not attributed to any external agency.
They are the results of our own thoughts and their resultant actions.

Every Choice Of Our's Has A Tremendous Potential For The Future

The word "kamma" means literally action, deed or doing. But in Buddhism it means specifically volitional action.

The Buddha says:
"Monks it is volition that I call kamma. For having willed, one then acts by body, speech or mind".

What really lies behind all action, the essence of all action, is volition, the power of the will.
It is this volition expressing itself as action of body, speech and mind that the Buddha calls kamma.

“Kamma is one’s own. Kamma means intention. Kamma is one’s own, one is kamma born, one is bound up in one’s kamma.
kamma is one’s inheritence. Whatever kamma one does, either skilled or unskilled, that is one’s inheritance.”

According to the Buddha, our willed actions produce effects.
They eventually return to ourselves.
One effect is the immediately visible psychological effect.
The other is the effect of moral retribution.

That is why the Buddha emphasizes, so strongly the need to be mindful of every action, of every choice.
For every choice of ours has a tremendous potential for the future.

Now let us examine the effects of moral retribution.
What is most important in Kamma is its tendency to ripen in the future and produce results in accordance with the universal moral law.

Whenever we perform an action with intention, such action deposits a "seed" in the mind, a seed with a potency to bring about effects in the future.
These effects correspond to the nature of the original action.
They follow from the inherent ethical tone of the action.
Our unwholesome kamma comes back to us and lead to our harm and suffering.
Our wholesome kamma eventually returns to us and leads to our happiness and well being.

Kamma can produce results at different times, even in different lives.

The Buddha says that there are three types of kammas distinguished by way of time of ripening.
There are kammas which ripen in this lifetime, kammas which ripen in the next lifetime and kammas that ripen some lifetime after the next.

The Buddha explains that our present life is the result of our past life.
We have come into being on account of our own ignorance and volitions in the past.
Thereafter in this present life, through our craving and attachment, through our actions or karma, we set rolling the forces that bring about a new existence in the future, new birth followed by ageing and death, thus the process of becoming is repeated over and over again.

[ see Kamma ]

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are as follows:-

1. The truth of Dukkha
2. The truth of the origin of Dukkha
3. The truth of the cessation of Dukkha
4. The truth of the path, the way to liberation from Dukkha

The word 'Dukkha' has often been translated as suffering, pain and misery.
But 'Dukkha' as used by the Buddha has a much wider and a deeper meaning.
It suggests a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all existence, all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are ever changing, impermanent and without any inner core or permanent substance or self.

The term, dukkha, indicates a lack of perfection, a condition that never measures up to our standards and expectations. a condition that could never satisfy us.


The Buddha explains this truth by simply listing the various types of Dukkha.

i) Birth

Birth in a general sense means the entire period of gestation from the time of conception to exit from the womb. Birth in itself, when it takes place becomes a painful experience. Being thrust out from the womb, being thrown out into the world without a choice, without any understanding is a traumatic experience. Birth is dukkha also since this is the first point for all other forms of Dukkha that will follow during the course of life. After birth growth takes place, which also has its share of pain.

ii) ageing

When the maximum point of growth is reached, ageing sets in. The skin wrinkles, the teeth begin to fall out, sense faculties loose their sharpness, hair turns grey, memory fades and vitality declines.

iii) Disease

Sickness whether physical or mental is suffering.

“I am of the nature to be sick. Sickness is inevitable.”

iv) Death

At the end comes death. The break up of the body, the extinguishing of the life force is suffering.

“I am of the nature to die. Death is inevitable.”

v) Sorrow, lamentation, pain , grief and despair.

Sorrow is intense woe because of some deprivation.
Lamentation is crying and weeping.
Pain is bodily pain.
Grief is any kind of mental unhappiness.
Despair is the lowest point of mental anguish, when all hope is given up.

vi) Union with the unpleasant

Facing the various unpleasant situations and disagreeable people we don't want to face is suffering,
when we are thrown into them against our will.

vii) Separation from the pleasant

There are pleasant and agreeable situations or people we would like to meet with and hope will last, or we want to cling or hold to or relationships we want to endure.
Facing separation from these pleasant situations or people is suffering.

viii) Not to get what we desire

Generally we desire pleasure, wealth, fame and praise, but instead one meet with pain, poverty, dishonour and blame.
When we want to remain young, we grow old, when we want to be healthy we fall sick. All this is suffering.

impermanent nature of all things

“All that is lovely and delightful is of the nature of impermanent, transient, to be otherwise and separate.”

Then the Buddha sums up: "In brief the five aggregates of clinging are dukkha".

With this statement the Buddha indicates that all our experiences is included in dukkha.

The five aggregates are the basic components of our experience, which is of five types.
They are material form, feeling, perception, mental formations ( mental fabrication ) and consciousness.

The material form covers the physical body with its sense faculties and the other four are the mental side.

The reason they are all included in Dukkha is that they are all impermanent, ever changing from moment to moment.
In fact they are only momentary events without any inner core.
What we call "my self" is just a combination of aggregates changing from moment to moment. It is the aggregates that are born, that grow old and finally die


This aims at showing us the cause of suffering.

The Buddha's approach is to trace the problem to its cause, to its root.

Buddha declares that the origin of Dukkha is craving, in Pali 'Tanha'.

The Buddha recognizes that there are three types of craving.

There can be wholesome desires such as desire to practise the Dhamma, the desire to give, etc.
There are also neutral desires, the desire to take a walk, the desire to sleep, etc.
And there are unwholesome desires.

Tanha means the unwholesome desire - the desire grounded in self centreness & ignorance, the drive for personal gratification.

Although desire is singled out as the cause of dukkha, it is not the only factor involved in the origination of suffering.
However, it is the chief factor.
But craving always works within a complex of factors.
It is conditioned by ignorance, by the psycho-physical organism and it requires objects.

Craving -the Origin of suffering


1. Sensual craving - kama tanha
The craving for sense pleasures.
Craving for pleasant sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch sensations, and for enjoyable ideas.

2. Craving for existence - bhava tanha
The craving for continued survival.
The drive to go on existing and to take on special forms, for immortality, etc..

3. Craving for anihilation - vibhava tanha
Craving for non-existence, the wish for self-annihilation.


Now we have to see how craving originates Dukkha.
The causal role of craving can be seen at two levels - a psychological level and a universal or cosmic level.

Psychological level

We find that craving is the underlying root of unhappiness, sorrow, grief, fear, worry, and disapointment.

Craving gives rise to sorrow when we are separated from the persons or things we are attached to.

Also it gives rise to fear, we become afraid of losing what we have obtained, we are afraid that people might reject us or that circumstances might separate us.

There are several stages in the psychological process by which craving leads to Dukkha. They are as follows;

(a) The very moment craving arises it brings along with it a feeling of dissatisfaction. This arises due to the contrast between one's present state of lack-of oneself without the object-and the possibility of fulfilling oneself by possession of the object. This is the Dukkha of striving and seeking.

(b) In the enjoyment of the object
The enjoyment of the object is accompanied by the suffering of protection. Once we get an object we have to protect it.

(c) Loss of the object
With the break up of an object or loss of a loved one there is suffering of deprivation.

If we examine our mind carefully we find that simply yielding to desire brings us only temporary satisfaction, which actually fuels the force of craving. Craving arises more strongly in the future. We need more money, more pleasure, more power. Thus it brings a stronger inner dissatisfaction. This is the way craving becomes the origin of suffering at the psychologicl level.

Cosmic level

At a deeper level, craving is the force which fuels the round of rebirth, samsara.

Craving uses the body as a means of finding delight.

At death the body can no longer support consciousness, but the craving remains.

Therefore, It latches onto a new body as the physical form and brings about rebirth, and the new existence provides the base of craving.
In this way it originates Dukkha over and over again

Nibbana - By Bikkhu Bodhi

The Buddha says that he teaches only Dukkha and the cessation of Dukkha, that is, suffering and the end of suffering.

The First Noble Truth deals with the problem of suffering.
However, the truth of suffering is not the final word of the Buddha's teaching.
It is only the starting point. The Buddha starts with suffering, because his teaching is designed for a particular end: it is designed to lead to liberation.

In order to do this he must give us a reason for seeking liberation.
If a man does not know that his house is on fire, he lives there enjoying himself, playing and laughing.
To get him to come out we first have to make him understand that his house is on fire.

In the same way the Buddha announces that our lives are burning with old age, sickness and death.
Our minds are flaming with greed, hatred and delusion.
It is only when we become aware of the peril that we are ready to seek a way to release.

In the Second Noble Truth, he points out that the principal cause of suffering is craving, the desire for a world of sights, sounds , smells, tastes, touch sensations and ideas.

Since the cause of Dukkha is craving, the key to reaching the end of Dukkha is to eliminate craving.

Therefore the Buddha explains the Third Noble Truth as the extinction of craving.


Psychological Dimension of Nibbana

Philosophical Dimension of Nibbana

Nibbana is an existing reality

Is Nibbana conditioned by its path

Is Nibbana mere annihilation ?

The story of the Turtle and the Fish

Two elements of Nibbana

Experience of an Arahant

State of an Arahant after passing away

Mind Stilled


The path leading to the cessation of Dukkha - The Noble Eightfold Path.

The Buddha lays down the Noble Eightfold Path as the path leading to the cessation of Dukkha.

The path consists of the following eight factors.

Right View
Right Intention
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration.

In conclusion the function to be performed in respect of each Noble Truth is as follows:-

The First Truth has to be understood.
The Second Truth has to be abandoned.
The Third Truth has to be realized.
The Fourth Truth has to be developed.

The Noble Eightfold Path -By Bhikkhu Bodhi

Dukkha, its origin, its cessation, and the way to its cessation-these are the Four Noble Truths, the "elephant's footprint" that contains within itself all the essential teachings of the Buddha.

It might be risky to say that any one truth is more important than the others.
since they all hang together in a very close integral unit.
But if we were to single out one truth as the key to the whole Dhamma it would be the Fourth Noble Truths, the truth of the way, the way to the end of Dukkha.

That is the Noble Eightfold Path, the path made up of the following eight factors divided into three larger groups;

1. wisdom

1. right view
2. right intention

2. moral discipline & purity

3. right speech
4. right action
5. right livelihood

3. Mental cultivation & purification

6. right effort
7. right mindfulness
8. right concentration

We say that the path is the most important element in the Buddha's teaching because the path is what makes the Dhamma available to us as a living experience.

Without the path the Dhamma would just be a shell, collection of doctrines without inner life.
Without the path ( method ) full deliverance from suffering would become a mere dream.


Discovery of a lost path
The way to awakening
The Middle way
Vision and Mission
The Two Kinds of Noble Eightfold Path
Not a Mere Ethical Conduct

The Trilogy of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta - By Bhikkhu Bodhi

The Buddha says that we have to examine our experience in order to discover its most pervasive features, the universal characteristics of phenomena, namely, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and egolessness or notself.

The Buddha says:

All formations are impermanent.
All formations are unsatisfactory.
All phenomena, everything whatsoever, are without self ( selfless ).

Formations ( compounded ) are things which arise from causes and conditions.
They include all compounded or formed phenomena.

Although all formations around us have these three characteristics, we are unable to see them because our minds are ordinarily cloaked by ignorance.

Ignorance is a mental factor which has been covering the minds of all sentient beings through beginningless time.
It covers the minds of every one but the fully enlightened ones, the Buddhas and the arahants.

Ignorance functions in two ways, negative and positive.
On the negative side it simply obstructs us from seeing things as they are; it throws up clouds of mental darkness.
On the positive side, it creates in the mind illusions called perversions.
Due to these perversions, we see things in quite the opposite way from the way they really are.

These perversions are:

(a) Perversion of seeing what is unattractive as attractive.
(b) Perversion of seeing what is Dukkha or unsatisfactory as pleasurable.
(c) Perversion of seeing what is impermanent as permanent.
(d) Perversion of seeing what is really without self as self.

These illusions give rise to craving, conceit, wrong view and all other defilements, and in that way we become entangled in dukkha.

These universal characteristics have to be understood in two stages: 1. first intellectually, by reflection; and thereafter
2. by direct insight or realisation through insight meditation.

When we explain these intellectually, we should not make this a substitute for practice, but only take it as a guideline for understanding what has to be seen by the actual practice of insight meditation.

 The three universal characteristics of all existents :

DUKKHA : general unsatisfactoriness of conditioned existence
2. Anicca : Impermance of conditioned existence
3. Anatta : selflessness of conditioned existence


This is the root characteristic of the Buddha's teaching, the most fundamental characteristic, which forms the basis for the other two.

The mark of impermanence has two aspects, gross and subtle.

The gross mark of impermanence is fully evident as soon as you pay attention to it.
If we do so it becomes clear that everything that arises must at some time pass away, that whatever comes into being must pass out of being, that whatever is put together at some time comes apart. This is evident in the cosmic process, in the course of history and in the course of our lives.

The Buddha teaches that the cosmic process goes through four stages of development.
(a) It emerges from a state of undifferentiated matter.
(b) It evolves to a point of maximum differentiation.
(c) It begins to disintegrate.
(d) Then it reaches a stage of total disintegration, destruction.

Then after sometime, the process repeats itself. In this way every world system arises, evolves and passes away.

In history we find the same pattern. A civilizations arises, reaches its zenith, declines and eventually perishes.

In life, we are born and grow up, when growth reaches the maximum it is followed by ageing decay and death.

Nothing in life is absolutely reliable. Fortune changes, character and relationships evolve and dissolve. That is the gross or coarse feature of impermanence.

The subtle mark of impermanence is more difficult to grasp.
This indicates not only that everything produced eventually perishes, but that being itself is really a process of becoming.
Buddha points out that there are no permanent static entities, but only dynamic processes which appear to us to be stable and static only because our perception is not sharp enough to detect the changes.

Things themselves are constantly undergoing changes just as a waterfall is always changing but from a distance it seems solid, because we can't perceive the flow.
Three stages of becoming
The Eye of Insight


Dukkha means both pain and suffering and also the general unsatisfactoriness of conditioned existence.

A fundamental reason why existence is unsatisfactory is because it is connected with pain, subject to suffering.
The pain and suffering to a great extent are rooted in impermanence.

We crave for a world where everything that we value and love will remain forever, but when it changes we undergo suffering.
The five aggregates themselves are impermanent.
We would like to preserve them, to dominate them with our will but when they escape our grasp we meet with dissatisfaction.

Dukkha has the meaning of "oppression by rise and fall".
When we contrast the rise and fall with our desire for peace and stability, then the process of rise and fall seems oppressive.

For detailed discussion of Dukkha see First Noble Truth


The 'selfless' nature of "Myself" & the 'selfless' nature of everything.

The characteristic of selflessness, non-self, selflessness, is the deepest and the most difficult of the characteristics.

In the teaching of Anatta, the Buddha proclaims that there is nothing that can be identified as self, that all the things that we take to be ourself, to be I and mine, are really not self.

There's no self.

This teaching cuts sharply against the traditional forms of thinking and makes Buddhism a distinctly unique teaching.

Almost all of our thoughts and activities are centred around the idea of "I" and "mine" and "myself".

Yet the Buddha holds that these notions are deceptive.
They are delusions that lead us into conflicts and suffering.
And he teaches further that, in order to get free from Dukkha, we have to break out of the clinging to the idea of self.

The only way to do this is to penerate the mark of selflessness, to see with insight the selfless nature of all phenomena.

What the teaching denies..


The Story of the rope and the snake
The nature of Selfhood - An Investigation
From a lump of foam to a magical illusion
The way to liberation

The Five Aggregates Of Clinging - By Bhikkhu Bodhi

The two steps aforesaid treats our experience analytically. We have to dissect the being, our own individuality.
The Buddha reveals that what we are, our being or personality, is a composite of five factors which are called the five aggregates of clinging.
They are called the five aggregates of clinging because they form the basis for clinging.
Whatever we cling to can be found amongst the five aggregates.

These five function together as the instrument for our experience of the world.
We cling to them as instruments of our experience in this life, and when they break up at death, due to that same clinging - the desire for enjoyment and for existence - a new set of aggregates, a new life arises to continue our experience in another existence.

Thus we build up one set of aggregates after another, life after life, and in that way we accumulate Dukkha, the suffering, in the round of samsara.

The Buddha says that the five agregates have to be fully understood.
This is the first Noble Truth, the truth of Dukkha.
The five aggregates are our burden, but at the same time they provide us with the indispensable soil of wisdom.

To bring suffering to an end we have to turn our attention around and see into the nature of the aggregates.

The five aggregates are:

1. Material form.
2. Feelings.
3. Perceptions.
4. Mental formations.
5. Consciousness.

These five aggregates exhaust our psychophysical existence. Any event, any occurrence, any element in the mind-body process can be put into one of these five aggregates. There is nothing in this whole experiential process that lies outside them.

All these four mental aggregates always exist together; they all depend upon one another.
Whenever there is any experience of an object, at that moment there is present, simultaneously, a feeling, a perception, a cluster of mental formations and consciousness, the light of awareness.

Whatever we identify ourselves with, whatever we take to be 'I', or 'my self' can be found within these five agggregates.

Therefore if we care to understand ourselves, what we have to understand is the five aggregates.

To fully understand the five aggregates means to see them as they really are, and this means to see them in terms of the three characteristics of existence, that is, impermanence, unsatisfactoriness or suffering, and selflessness or non-self.


This includes all the material factors of existence, every type of material phenomena.
The most important of these is the body, the physical organism through which one experiences the world.
The Buddha analyses the aggregate of material form into two basic substances:

1. Four primary elements.
2. Secondary forms of matter


Feeling is the mental factor that has the function of experiencing the 'flavour' of the object, the effective quality of the object.

There are three basic types of feelings - pleasant, painful and neutral feeling.

Feeling can further be subdivided by way of the sense faculty through which it originates: feeling which arises by contact with the eye, ear, nose, tongue , body and mind, which amounts to eighteen types of feeling (three kinds each through six sense faculties).


This is the mental act of grasping the distinguishing qualities of the object. Perception takes note of the object's features, it identifies and notes.

Perception is divided into six categories by way of the sense objects that it takes note of:

(a) Perception of form
(b) Perception of sound
(c) Perception of smell
(d) Perception of taste
(e) Perception of touch
(f) Perception of ideas

4.  MENTAL FORMATIONS ( mental creations, mental fabrications )

This is a comprehensive group which contains a number of volitional factors.

In Abidhamma 50 types of mental formations are mentioned. Of these, the most important is volition or will.

This is the mental factor which arouses us to act by way of body or speech.

Mental formations also include all different desires and emotions, including the wholesome and unwholesome roots.

These are the basic psychological roots of unwholesome actions: greed hatred and delusion,
and the basic roots of wholesome actions: generosity, loving kindness and wisdom.


Consciousness is the key factor of the mind.

It is the basic awareness of the object, the light of awareness which makes all experience possible.

Consciousness is divided into six types by way of its bases:

(a) eye consciousness cognizes visual objects.
(b) ear consciousness cognizes sound
(c) nose consciousness cognizes smell
(d) tongue consciousness cognizes taste
(e) body consciousness cognizes tangible sensations
(f) mind consciousness cognizes objects of outer senses such as sights, sounds... etc as well as mental objects such as ideas, concepts,images, abstract notions etc.

Consciousness seems similar to perception, but these two perform different functions.

Consciousness is the general awareness of objects, while perception is the specific factor which grasps the object's distinctive qualities.

Dependent Arising : Patticca Samuppada - By Bhikkhu Bodhi

"When there is this, that comes to be; with the arising of this, that arises.
When there is not this, that does not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases."

The Buddha says "One who sees dependent arising sees the Dhamma and one who sees the Dhamma sees dependent arising".

The Dhamma is the truth discovered by the Buddha.

The Buddha says this dependent arising is deep in truth and deep in appearance.
It is through not understanding and not penetrating this truth of dependent arising that living beings have become entangled like a matted ball of thread,or have to become like grass and rushes, unable to pass beyond the woeful states of existence, unable to escape from samsara, the cycle of becoming.

Thus dependent arising is not only the content of the Buddha's enlightenment, not only a philosophical doctrine, but it is also the truth that has to be realized to gain liberation from suffering. So this is the key not only to the intellectual understanding of the Dhamma, but to the attainment of liberation itself.


However, though samsara does not have a distinct beginning in time, it does have a distinct causal structure.

It is sustained, kept in motion, by a precise set of conditions.

These conditions the Buddha sets out in twelve factors and these make up the practical side of his teaching on dependent arising.

These twelve factors are : ignorance, volitional formations, consciousness, mentality - materiality, six sense faculties, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, existence, birth, and ageing and death.

These twelve factors are the spokes of the wheel of existence and are all to be found within ourselves.
It is through these factors that we revolve over and over in samsara meeting with different forms of suffering.
Because we are ignorant of these factors we continue to be held in bondage.
By discovering this truth, the truth of dependent arising, it becomes possible to bring the repeated process of birth and death to a standstill.

Dependent Arising : Patticca Samuppada


The Buddha points out that:

1.with ignorance as condition, the volitional formations ( volitional fabrication & arising ) arises
2.Dependent on volitional formations, consciousness arises.
3.Dependent on consciousness mentality( mind )-materiality( matter ) arises.
4.Dependent on mentality-materiality the six sense faculties arise.
5.Dependent on the six sense faculties contact arises.
6.Dependent on contact feeling arises.
7.Dependent on feeling craving arises.
8.Dependent on craving clinging arises.
9.Dependent on clinging, becoming arises.
10.Dependent on becoming, existence & birth arises.
11.Dependent on birth, ageing, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair arise.
Such, the Buddha says, is the arising of the whole mass of suffering.

For detail explanation of Dependent Arising : Patticca Samuppada pls visit


This process of repeated existence does not have to continue.
It hinges upon a single underlying root.
That root is ignorance.

The most striking discovery of the enlightenment of the Buddha is that ignorance can be eradicated.

It is possible to generate knowledge and understanding of the true nature of phenomena, a knowledge that sees phenomena as they really are.

By arousing this knowledge of wisdom, ignorance can be eradicated. With the cessation of ignorance, volitional formations come to an end.

Thus comes the cessation of consciousness.
With the cessation of consciousness there is no mentality-materiality;
with the cessation of mentality-materiality there are no more sense faculties, no more contact, no more feeling.
When there is no feeling, there is no more craving and clinging, no more accumulation of kamma, no birth; with the end of birth there is no more ageing and death.

That is the cessation of suffering.


Now let us see the practical implementation of this teaching.

As we saw, the most important factor is the link between feeling and craving.

That is why Buddha singles out craving as the origin of suffering in the Four Noble Truths.

So what we have to do in our own practice is to prevent feeling from leading to craving.

We have to be mindful and clearly aware of the feeling that arises,and not delight in them, hold to them, and cling to them.

If we lack mindfulness when pleasant feeling arises, it issues into craving.

We relish the object, become attached to it and desire more of the pleasure it gives.

But if we have mindfulness, we become aware "a pleasant feeling has arisen".

We stop at awareness without succumbing to it.

Then applying wisdom to the feeling, we understand the feeling as impermanent, unsatisfactory, without a self.

These measures prevent the feeling from giving rise to craving.

As we go on cultivating wisdom, wisdom grows sharper and sharper, deeper and deeper until it cuts off the basic ignorance.

It cuts off layer after layer of ignorance, and when all ignorance is eliminated the state of liberation is achieved.

The Buddha only shows the way..
We ourselves should tread the path

The Buddha's teaching is called the Dhamma, because this teaching makes known the true nature of things - discloses the true nature of all existence.

these doctrines are presented to us with the aim of leading us to the attainment of enlightenment, so that we can share the Buddha's own insight into the true nature of things.

The Dhamma is called 'opanayaka' because it leads onwards step by step to a deepening realisation of truth.

Realization of Dhamma is to take place within ourselves, in our own experience.

The Dhamma is the true nature of things. And this truth has to be realized with the same immediacy as that with which we can see an object held in our hands.

To realize this truth we have to travel a path, the path of Dhamma all by ourselves.

There is no one else who can walk it for us.
But the Dhamma taught by the Buddha guides us in our effort to walk the path.

The man struck by the 'poison' arrow

Because of this practical bent, the Buddha dismisses all speculative concerns as irrelevant.
He says that he teaches only suffering and the cessation of suffering.
All other philosophical pursuits are irrelevant, futile, misleading and even dangerous.
The Buddha compares a man obsessed with speculation to a man struck by a poisoned arrow.

A man has been struck by a poison arrow and he is dying. When a physician comes to him and offers to remove the arrow, the man says " No, I won't let you take out the arrow, until you tell me the name of the man who shot me, what class he comes from, what his family is, what kind of material the arrow is made of, etc. Such a man will die before the arrrow is removed.
The Buddha says that in the same way, a speculative thinker lost in his questions only continues to wallow in suffering without finding the way to liberation.

Dhamma is like a raft

The Buddha compares the Dhamma to a raft. We use a raft to get from one side of a river to the other, not to carry around with us wherever we go.
In the same way, we use the Dhamma as our means to cross from our present state of bondage and suffering to the other shore, the state of absolute freedom, Nibbana.

'THE PRESENT MOMENT - by U. Sapukotana

I dwell in the present moment
This is the most wonderful moment".

The virtues of living in the present moment has been extolled by the Buddha in many Suttas.

"The (wise) monk does not dwell in the past, nor does he speculate about the future. He observes with wisdom whatever mental phenomena that arises at the moment".

When the Buddha admonished Bahiya as -
`Ditthe ditthamattam bhavissati',
sute suta mattam bhavissati
mute mutamattam bhavissati
vinnate vinnatamatam bhavissati'

"In the seen there is only the seen, in the heard there is only the heard etc", he was in fact advising him to concentrate in the present.

Similarly he advised the acrobat Uggasena who was balancing his body on the top of a bamboo shaft to balance his mind in the present moment.

Both Bahiya and Uggasena were able to quickly reach the final goal through the act of fine balance in the present moment.

The present moment does not know good nor bad.
It does not know judgments or pre-conceptions.
When we are freed from the past and future we experience only 'Just IS ' & the dynamic presence of the flow of energy in the form of inward and outward breath.


The Five Hindrances are as follows :-

1. Desire for sense pleasures (Kamacchanda)
2. Aversion anger, ill-will, jealousy, fear,resistance, etc., (Vyapada)
3. Sloth and torpor (Thinamiddha)
4. Restlessness and worry (Uddhacca Kukkucca)
5. Doubt (Vicikiccha)

For the five hindrances to be tranquilized, any meditator must also establish certain conditions.
There are four qualities that one must practice and develop.

1. Virtue - at the very minimum one must safeguard the five precepts.
However, one must also strive to undertake the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth.

2. Guarding the doors of the senses - one must exercise restraint in seeking the pleasures of the senses.
One must control greed and sorrow towards the world.

3. Mindfulness and awareness - as far as possible one must always live in mindfulness, one must carry out one's actions mindfully, one must be aware of what one does at all times.

When one is standing, sitting, walking or lying down; When one is speaking or is silent; when one is eating or defecating; during all these actions, one must carry them out with mindfulness and awareness.

4. Contentment - one must be pleased with what one has. Ideally one should practice some degree of austerity and be pleased with little.

When these four qualities get developed, the mind very easily goes into concentration,

The seven factors of enlightenment are:

1.Mindfulness (sati)
2.Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
3.Energy (viriya)
4.Rapture or happiness (piti)
5.Calm (passaddhi)
6.Concentration (samadhi)
7.Equanimity (upekkha)

The four immeasurables,
1. Metta: Love kindness
2. Karuna : Compassion
3. Empathetic Joy
4. Equanimity of mind ( the mind which is in harmony with everything equally )

also known as the Brahma Viharas (Skt.) are found in one brief and beautiful prayer:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

The Buddha taught the following to his son Rahula (from "Old path white clouds" by Thich Nhat Hahn):

"Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return.
Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.
Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success.
Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. This is because that is. Myself and others are not separate. Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.
I call these the four immeasurables. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others."

Among the many topics of meditation taught by the Buddha, there are four specifically concerned with the cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity. These four are called the Four Immeasurables because they are directed to an immeasurable number of sentient beings, and because the wholesome karma produced through practising them is immeasurable.

By cultivating the wholesome attitudes of loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity, people can gradually remove ill will, cruelty, jealousy and desire. In this way, they can achieve happiness for themselves and others, now and in the future. The benefit in the future may come through rebirth in the fortunate realms.

(a) Loving-kindness

Loving-kindness, the first immeasurable, is the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy. Loving-kindness counters ill will. The attitude of loving-kindness is like the feeling which a mother has for her newborn son.

(b) Compassion

Compassion, the second of the immeasurables, is the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering. It counters cruelty. People can observe the natural attitude of compassion in the world around them. When a mother, for example, sees her son seriously ill, she will naturally be moved by compassion and earnestly wishes that he may be free from the suffering of his sickness.

(c) Appreciative Joy

The third immeasurable is appreciative joy. It is the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings. It counters jealousy and makes people less self-centred.

People in their daily lives may experience appreciative joy. It is like a mother's joy at her son's success and happiness in life.

(d) Equanimity

Equanimity, the last of the four immeasurables, is the attitude of regarding all sentient beings as equals, irrespective of their present relationship to oneself. The wholesome attitude of equanimity counters clinging and aversion.
To become a sublime state of mind, however, the attitude of equanimity has to be extended to all sentient beings.

In meditation, the Four Immeasurables are extended to all sentient beings. Through cultivating the Four Immeasurables, people can achieve happiness now and in the future.



With a wish to free all sentient beings from suffering
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment

Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddhas’ presence
I generate the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings

As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world

So, the term bodhicitta 菩提心 in its most complete sense would combine both:

the arising of spontaneous and limitless compassion for all sentient beings, and
the falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existent self.

Why Meditate - Mithra Wettimuny

Pleasures of the Senses - So short lived!
All beings wherever they are seek happiness. Everyone wants to escape suffering. The only difference is that the method of escape varies. In the human world, which belongs to the plane of the senses, it is normal for beings to seek the pleasures of the senses as a means to happiness. Pleasures of the senses means that pleasure derived by indulging in one or more of the five strands of sense pleasures, ie., sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches. However, the pleasures derived from these senses never fulfills ones anticipations. It lasts only for a very short while. It becomes otherwise very rapidly. It is always accompanied with some degree of unsatisfactoriness owing to the fact that one or more of the five hindrances are always present in the mind. Hence, a more observant person ultimately finds the pleasures of the senses very disenchanting.

Happiness born of mental concentration
There is another kind of happiness. This is very much refined and superior to the happiness born of the five senses. This is the happiness born of mental concentration. It is free of any restlessness and keeps one's mind calm and well-collected as it is brought about by setting aside the five hindrances temporarily. It also lasts much longer than those pleasures of the senses. Those beings who experience this type of happiness realize and understand how much coarse the pleasures of the senses are. Those beings who live in the world of form (Brahmas) live experiencing this kind of happiness. However, as this is also brought about by conditions, this type of happiness is also impermanent.

Dimming out the ulimate happiness
There is yet another kind of happiness. There is nothing more supreme or excellent than this kind of happiness. This is that happiness that is a result of dimming-out or release. Let me give you an example to make it clear to you. Behaviours like greed, anger, jealousy, fear or worry brings much unhappiness to anyone. If for instance such behaviours were not to arise anymore in one's mind, then there is a happiness one experiences as a result of the absence or the non-arising of such unpleasant behaviours. One is released from such thorns that torture the mind and then one enjoys the fruit of that release. This is the meaning of what the Buddha referred to as Nibbana. Those who experience this and realize it for themselves know fully well that there is nothing beyond.

Fruits of Serenity Meditaion
Supreme Happiness: the fruit of Insight Meditation
The happiness that is enjoyed by mental concentration is achieved by the practice of Serenity Meditation (Samatha Bhavana). There are several objects that can be used for the development of Serenity Meditation such as meditation on kindness, or meditation on in and out breathing etc. which takes the mind into concentration (Samadhi).

Metta bhavana (Meditation on Kindness) yields much fruit during this very life to the one who develops it and makes much of it.
They are

1. he sleeps well
2. he wakes up well
3. he does not see bad dreams
4. he has a radiant face
5. he is pleasing to human beings
6. he is pleasing to non-human beings
7. he receives the protection of the devas (deities)
8. he is not affected by heat or poisons
9. his mind goes into concentration easily and quickly
10. he dies mindfully and peacefully.
11. If one does not attain Nibbana in this life, he will be born in the Brahma worlds.

One must also practise kindness in one's day to day life. It is one of the most powerful tools to overcome obstacles in life.

The Pali word Samadhi means a mind that is calm, tranquil, concentrated, well-collected and released from the five hindrances. The essential condition is that the mind must be released from the five hindrances when one sets these five hindrances aside, even temporarily, one experiences the bliss of Samadhi. However, as soon as one of the hindrances were to manifest again, the mind looses that state of bliss.

That supreme happiness that is a result of release is attained by the development of Wisdom through the practice of Insight Meditation. Any one of the four fields of resort, that is the four foundations of mindfulness, can be one's object of insight meditation. The four foundations of mindfulness are:-

1.The contemplation of body
2.The contemplation of feelings
3.The contemplation of mental states
4.The contemplation of mental objects

When one establishes one's mindfulness into one or more of these fields, one's mindfulness begins to develop and go into strength. When mindfulness goes into strength, knowledge will begin to arise. Knowledge rises only to a mind in Samadhi. That is to a mind released from the five hindrances. So in this practice too, as in the case of Serenity Meditation, the mind must be released from the five hindrances prior to the arising of knowledge. Wisdom means to know and see things as they really are. And it is this process of knowing and seeing things as they really are that culminates in the knowledge of the four noble truths. The perceptions of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta also get developed in this process of insight meditation. It is this knowledge that destroys the fetters from their very roots. It is these fetters that inflame and bring much suffering to the mind. When these fetters are pulled out from their roots they do not arise any more. One is then released from these fetters that binds one to an ocean of misery. And there is no greater happiness than the release from these fetters. In this way, one establishes the practice of the noble eightfold path which will ultimately lead one to the end of suffering.

In conclusion, let me summarise what I have so far said, by quoting the Dhammapada. Health is the highest profit, contentment, the highest of riches. trusted (wise) friend is the highest kinsmen. Nibbana is the highest happiness.


The effort of insight meditation practice has to culminate by the realization of the Four Noble Truths and this is the first of them. So I ask everyone to contemplate on it frequently.

Contemplation of Body (Mindfulness of body)

Mindfulness of In and Out Breathing

When we are freed from the thoughts of past and future. we experience only the dynamic presence of the flow of energy in the form of inward and outward breath.

The present moment does not know good nor bad. It does not know judgments or pre-conceptions. its know peace, now, silence & clarity.

aware of the breathing as it is; clearly; here & now.

Investigation on the elements

Mindfulness of the posture of the body

Meditation on the impurities of the body

To help remove lust & attachment to the physical body.

Beauty is only skin deep

lust can only arises if you look at the physical body at the outer surface of the body.

but beauty is only skin deep. below the thin layer of the skin, there is nothing beautiful, there are blood flowing in blood vessels, electrical signals travelling in the nerves of the nervous system, urine in the kidney & bladder, stools in the colon, there are various organs fills with small blood vessels, heart pumping blood, brain, bones of skeleton, etc.

In order to break through the wrong view and perception of pleasantness in body, in order to set aside and ultimately destroy this lust & wrong perception of the physical body , it may be necessary for some to contemplate and meditate on the fact of the undeniable fact of the foulness of the physical body & on the 32 impurities of body. If we break the body into its main components one will find thirty two parts. This right perception of the physical body inaccordance with fact; helps remove lust & attachment for the physical body.

This meditation technique is not a compulsory meditation for all people, this meditation technique is use to help people whom want to remove lust & attachment to the physical body.

Mindfulness of Physical Actions


Another one of the four foundations of mindfulness is being mindful of feeling. Let me cover this
field of resort now. It is a important area, since one must come to understand feeling.

Fundamentally, feeling is of three types. There is pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling and
neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant (neutral) feeling. Where there is gladness, joy or happiness
there is also pleasant feeling. Where there is sorrow, lamentation, despair, restlessness etc.
there is also unpleasant feeling. Where there is neither of the two, there is neutral feeling.
If no pleasant or unpleasant feeling arises in the mind, there arises neutral feeling in the
mind. With any single experience, there will arise one of these three feelings along with the
relevant perception.

We can also classify feeling into feeling born of material and feeling free of material. Feeling
born of material is through the five sense bases namely, the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body.
Then there is feeling free of material. Such feeling is not dependent on contact through the
five senses. It is dependent only on the mind base.

One must be able to identify feelings in this manner. When a feeling arises, one must know
and see it as either associated with material or free of material, one must know and see it as
pleasant unpleasant or neutral. This is acquired by being mindful of feeling, when a feeling
arises, one must know it has arisen. When a feeling ceases, one must know it ceases. When
these feelings cease, one must know it has ceased. All these feelings, whatever they are, come
and go.Arise and fade away. They are all of the nature to arise and cease. Being mindful of the
arising and ceasing nature of all feelings is the essence of this practice. Any posture can be
utilized to observe feeling. As you keep noting the rise and fall of all feelings, the knowledge of
impermanence of feelings arise. The perception of impermanence arise.

Now there is another important and vital thing to realize. Normally, with the arising of a feeling
there will also arise a reaction to feeling. If the feeling is pleasant, there arises the inherent
tendency to cling to this pleasant feeling. To delight in it. Similarly, if the feeling is
unpleasant, there will arise a resentment to this feeling. This process of delighting and resenting
are distinct functions. Feeling is also a function, and delighting and resenting are also functions.
All are functions. You may call them behaviors or elements. Delighting and resenting are mental
functions. The subtle difference between feeling and delighting or resenting feeling must be
known, realized.

Whatever perception and feeling will find residence in the mind, will be a source of burden,
harassment or torment, will be a source of mental pain or suffering, will be a source of dukkha,
only if one delights in or resents that perception and feeling. For dukkha to arise, there must
arise both feeling and delighting or resenting in that feeling. It is this process of clinging
and resenting that brings about all the misery. For instance, whatever painful feeling that may
arise in your body, if there arises no resentment to that feeling, then that painful feeling finds
no residence in the mind, it is not a burden. Then there is no dukkha.

So we develop this Path, in order to destroy clinging and resenting to feeling. To uproot this
tendency completely. This is the meaning of cessation of feeling. This is fully realized at
Arahantship .

The wheel of knowledge that dawns when one contemplates on feeling, is identical to the
knowledge that dawns when one contemplates on body. One sees the true nature of things in
all aspects, culminating in the knowledge of the four noble truths, realization of nibbana.

Every meditator must identify one’s main object of meditation. It may be the breath or something
else. Always commence your formal practice with the main object and if feeling is not that main
object, then proceed to contemplate on feeling too, so that this field of mindfulness too will
develop leading to a complete understanding of feeling.

A Being is a doer of eighteen mental discriminations

Knowledge of rise and fall

Feeling is a mere function

Knowledge of disenchantment and equanimity


[Transcribed from a lecture delivered by Mr. Mithra Wettimuny at a Meditation Retreat in Sri Lanka]

So far I have covered two sections of the 4 foundations of mindfulness, namely contemplation of
the body and contemplation of feelings. Now we will get on to the third area, which is the
contemplation of the states of mind. This is a very important investigation and contemplation,
because controlling and taming the mind is our essential goal. The mind is the forerunner to
all things. Therefore we must come to know the mind, understand the mind, its characteristics,
its behavioural patterns and through that process control it and ultimately tame the mind.
Therefore all those who practise Insight Meditation must come to develop this particular
practice called “Chittanupassana” so that they get a good understanding of various states
of mind and ultimately control it and tame it.

We must first and foremost identify the various states of mind that can arise. Once we have
identified them, we have to observe, note, be mindful of their behaviour, of the true nature
of these states of mind and through that process acquire that realised knowledge with regard
to all these states of mind. That is the essence of this practice of Insight with regard to
this particular area of mindfulness.

The Buddha explains that there are 16 states of mind. There is no other state of mind to be
found outside these 16 states of mind. You must be able to identify these 16 states of mind,
then establish your mindfulness towards these states of mind and through that process acquire
that understanding, that depth of understanding with regard to this mind. Actually there is
nothing more important than understanding one’s own mind. Therefore this is a meditation that
all must cultivate and develop. I must remind you again, you have to associate this practice,
you have to develop it and make much of it. Until the “making much of” situation arises, you
don’t come to acquire a substantial understanding of it. Therefore, you must practise this
meditation frequently. The 16 states of mind are as follows:-

* 1st and 2nd states of mind – a mind with desire (raga) or lust or thirst and a mind
that is free of desire or lust or thirst

* 3rd and 4th states of mind – a mind in aversion (dosa) and a mind not in aversion

*5th and 6th states of mind – a mind in ignorance (moha) and a mind not in
ignorance (amoha)

* 7th state of mind – a diffused mind

* 8th state of mind – a shrunken mind

* 9th and 10th states of mind – a mind gone great (Mahaggha) and a mind not
gone great (Amahaggha)

* 11th and 12th states of mind – a mind with a state superior to it (Sauthara) and a mind
without a state superior to it (Anuthara)

* 13th and 14th states of mind – a mind in samadhi and a mind not in samadhi

* 15th and 16th states of mind – a mind that is released and a mind that is not released

Now that you know the various states of mind that can arise, you use this as a meditation by
being observant and mindful and being aware of the states of mind. Know them, identify them
and have the capacity to identify them and keep developing the capacity to note them quickly
artistanthonykoh artistanthonykoh
46-50, M
Feb 6, 2013