Abhidhammain daily life by Ashin Janakabhivamsa
Paja sabba sussayantu,
May all beings residing in their respective dwellings sleep soundly and have pleasant dreams! Being blessed in glory, may they awake early in the morning with auspiciousness! May they be able to abstain from evil deeds which lead to the four woeful abodes. May they be able to fulfil the thirty Paramis (Perfections) incessantly and attain spiritual maturity stage by stage!
Taking into consideration the situation of the present day, we find that the first three of four moral virtues called Brahmaviharas, namely, loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) appear to have ceased to flourish, to have dried up in the human mind. The element of 'heat' generated by beings through such cessation of virtues incinerates even the virtuous, who now find themselves on the verge of drying up.
What Is Meant By the 'Heat Element'? The 'heat element' is nothing but greed (Lobha), hatred (dosa), conceit (mana), jealousy (issa) and avariciousness (macchariya), that leave no room for sympathy or compassion for one another. That 'heat element' causes drying up of virtuous elements not only in the present but also in the coming existences in the round of rebirths (samsara). Therefore people should endeavour in this very life to the best of their ability to extinguish the 'heat element' and seek to reside steeped in the cool elements of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity which are the four sublime states of living (Brahmaviharas).
Whatis Samsara? The material world in which beings live is not to be mistaken as samsara. The continuous coming into existence of consciousness (citta), and mental factors (cetasikas) together with matter (rupa) in succession is called samsara in the ultimate sense. [sam=in succession; sara going, wandering.)
What Are Human Beings, Devas, and Brahmas?
Consciousness (citta) and mental factors (cetasikas) are collectively called nama, the mind. The successive coming into existence of this nama and rupa, the material element, in combination is nominally called human being, deva and brahma, or person, being, I, he, she, man, woman, etc. In the ultimate sense, there are no humans, devas or brahmas, or other beings apart from nama and rupa.
Why Do Nama and Rupa Come Into Existence? Nama and rupa do not come into successive existence without causes. They arise because of external objects experienced at the present and the kamma done in the past existences preserved in one's continuum. Hence, note that the two root causes of nama and rupa are external objects and past kamma.
The Important Causes. Of the two causes, the external objects experienced are not so important, because they only serve as images that bring about various internal states of mind (consciousness). The important thing is for one's (internal) mind to be wholesome when perceiving various external objects, good or bad.
"If the (internal) mind is always good, all the nama and rupa of future existences will also be good." Even though one has passed away from one existence, good nama and rupa will appear again, as good humans, good devas and good brahmas. If their internal minds are wicked, beings will be reborn in hell (niraya) or become ghosts (petas) , or animals with ugly minds and bodies.
Proper Attitude (Yoniso Manasikara) Will Proddce a Good Mind.
Only when there is yoniso manasikara, will the mind be good. Judicious consideration of whatever one comes across is called 'yoniso manasikara'. Nowadays people tend to abbreviate 'yoniso manasikara' into 'yoniso'. Due to proper attitude, unwholesome mind will not appear; only wholesome mind will arise. Wrongful consideration will not foster a good mind even under favourable circumstances for its arising. Correct mental attitude is, therefore, the most important for all beings to acquire a good mind.
Causes for having or not having proper attitude are (1) reading or not reading good books, and (2) learning from the wise or not. Those who read good books and those who learn from the wise will amass useful knowledge. If those who have thus amassed knowledge, make resolution as "I will always have good mind arise in me", they tend to have rightful consideration regarding circumstances they meet with.
Those who neither read good books nor learn from the wise will not amass useful knowledge and will not be able to better their mind or to cultivate good thoughts
Therefore, a new treatise entitled "A bhidhamma in Daily Life" is written for the welfare of people, with a view to assist them in acquiring good conduct.
The author's aim can be summarised as follows.
For the readers to develop rightful attitude regard ing the circumstances he or she encounters, to be always broad-minded, to live the way of noble living (Brahmavihara), and to conduct a harmonious life.
For the readers to be always in good mood, to develop an unwavering attitude towards life and to be able to live in grace whether they are wealthy and happy being successful and prosperous, or whether they are poor and unhappy meeting with failure and calamity.
For the readers to be those who are making effort to fulfil the Paramis (Perfections) such as dana (charity), sila (morality), etc., in this existence so that they may elevate themselves gradually from the next existence till the attainment of Nibbana.
Just as you look at your image in the minor daily and tidy yourself, so you should read this treatise and reflect on yourself every day.
"Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato
"Veneration to the Exalted One, the Homage Worthy,
the Perfectly Self-Enlightened"
On Paramattha, the Ultimates and the Mind
The Four Ultimates
Paramattha is a Pali term which means lofty intrinsic nature. Lofty does not mean high, noble or good, but it means that which is upright and firm being unchanging by way of intrinsic nature. [ Parama + attha — lofty + intrinsic nature) The four Ultimates (Paramatthas) are consciousness (citta), mental factors (cetasikas), matter (rupa) and Nibbana, the only absolute reality.
How They Are Unchanging
The mental factors include Lobha, greed and dosa, hatred or anger. Lobha never changes its intrinsic nature of greed whether it arises in the mind of the wise and virtuous, or the wicked, or of dogs. Dosa also never changes its hard nature of hatred or ill will in whomsoever beings it arises. It should be noted that other Ultimates also maintain their intrinsic natures in the same way.
The Ultimates are free from bias or partiality, and they always manifest by themselves on their own nature. The intrinsic nature of things should be earnestly digested and understood as explained here, so as to know the mental states of other people as well as one's own.
1. The real essence, being constant, steadfast and unchanging is called Paramattha, the Ultimate.
2. There are four kinds of Ultimates, namely, consciousness, mental factors, matter and Nibbana.
Citta or Consciousness
That Which is Conscious of an Object is Consciousness
We are conscious of objects all the time. This nature of awareness of objects is called consciousness. Here awareness does not mean comprehension by knowledge or wisdom. It means ability to take in objects through sense organs.
Six objects of senses, Six forms of consciousness
All forms of sight ruparammana
All forms of sound=saddarammana
All forms of smell=gandharammana
All forms of taste=rasarammana
All forms of touch=photthabbarammana
All other perceptible objects=dhammarammana
On seeing a visible object, consciousness of sight appears. On hearing a sound, consciousness of sound appears, On smelling a scent, consciousness of smell appears. On sampling a taste, consciousness of taste appears. On feeling a touch, consciousness of touch appears. On perceiving those five objects of senses and all other perceptible objects, consciousness of mind appears. Thus, the capability of taking in an object concerned is called consciousness (citta).
The Nature of Mind
"Mind can travel afar, it wanders alone. It has no material form and it generally dwells in the cave", according to the Dhammapada. It will be explained in detail as expounded therein.
Mind Can Travel afar
The mind does not move physically away like a man walking. But, as it can take in an object at a distance far way form where you are, it seems as if it has gone there. For example, while you are in Mandalay and think of something or someone in Yangon, your mind does not actually travel to Yangon, but registers its awareness of Yangon while still in Mandalay. As it can perceive an object at a distance, it is said, "Mind can travel afar".
Mind Wanders alone
Consciousness appears and vanishes very swiftly. More than one million million (or one thousand billion) units of consciousness can appear and vanish within one snap of fingers. The appearance and vanishing are so swift that two or three units of consciousness seem to be able to arise and perceive two or three objects at the same time. As a matter of fact, two or three units of consciousness never appear at the same time. They appear one after another, and only after taking one object do they take another object.
While sitting on a scented bed, eating, and watching singers and dancers, we notice that there are five sense objects present, namely, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. The mind does not take in these five objects all at the same time. Only after perceiving the object which we prefer most, do we perceive other objects one after another. Thus, two or three or many units of consciousness do not appear at the same time. Consciousness appears one at time, so it is said, "Mind wanders solitary."
Mind has no material form
The mind has no form or shape. So, we cannot say that it is white or black or fat or thin. It is only the perceptibility, the capability of cognising an object.
Dwelling in the cave
Consciousness of seeing originates in the eye; consciousness of hearing originates in the ear; consciousness of smelling originates in the nose; consciousness of taste originates in the tongue, consciousness of touch originates in the body. Though some forms of consciousness originate thus in the eye, ear, nose, etc., most forms of consciousness originate in the cardiac cavity. Therefore it is said, figuratively, "dwelling in the cave."
In brief, it should be noted that consciousness has no form; it can perceive a sense object; it has the nature of cognising an object. While in the process of cognition it does not go out of its dwelling even for a hair's breadth, but it can perceive objects far way. Two or three units of consciousness do not appear simultaneously. Each unit appears only one after another in succession.
The mind can take in senses objects; it travels afar; wanders alone; has no physical form; dwells in the cardiac cavity.
How good and bad states of Mind mingle with each other
As consciousness appears and vanishes very quickly, the good and bad or the wholesome and the unwholesome units of consciousness mingle even in a short time of five minutes. Getting up early in the morning, you pay homage to the Buddha and acquire a good mind. At that time when you hear someone calling you to go shopping, you develop greed. As someone comes and says something provocative, you tend to get angry.
Even when you are involved in greed while doing some trading, if you happen to think of giving in charity, that is a wholesome thought of saddha (belief in beneficial effects of charity). When you are angry with someone or something, you happen to remember your teachers' advice or admonition and good mindfulness appears again.
While the husband and wife are chatting with lust in mind, they may become angry because of some misunderstanding. When one of them makes an apology and proposes reconciliation, the mind becomes tender and lustful again. As consciousness changes very quickly, you should carefully differentiate between good and bad units of consciousness whenever they appear and try to cultivate many units of wholesome consciousness.
Minds are different as are material properties
Just as the form or shape of a man is different from that of another, so the mind of one person is also unlike that of another. Just as a heavy, clumsy body is quite different from an animated, sprightly one, so an obtuse, stolid mind is quite different form a vivacious, sparkling one. There are beautiful and lovely persons who outdo others in beauty and charm. In the cases of ugliness also, there are ugly persons who are as base as petas (ghosts) or demons. Concerning different kinds of good and sharp minds, there are minds of varying grades from the ordinary to the unique. Likewise concerning different kinds of bad or evil states of mind, there are varying degrees of wickedness and abject stupidity. Just as there are differing degrees of gracefulness in physique with those wining the laurels of beauty and charm at the top, so there are different classes of unsightliness, with petas (ghosts) and demons at the bottom step of ugliness. Similarly, there are different grades of wholesome group of minds ranging from the ordinary to the most noble spirits with the sharpest of intellects, and different levels of unwholesome category of mind stretching from the wicked, evil, repulsive types to the most heinous with abject stupidity.
Mind can be tamed
If someone born and brought up in the country emulates the vogue and way of living of the urbanites, trains himself physically and mentally, his rupa (physical appearance) will also change, become fashionable and stylish within one or two years beyond recognition by their old acquaintances. Thus if physical forms which are slow to change can be made to improve, why shouldn't it be possible to tame the mind which changes quickly and is easy to improve, if one really wants to improve it? If one monitors one's mind everyday and tames one's unruly mind, one will soon become a man of noble mind, and after two or three years, will have developed enough self-esteem to have respect for one's mind.
Why Mind should be reformed
There are many reasons why we should reform our minds. We ourselves know best the weaknesses and foibles of our minds. Even though some wicked people attain high status in worldly affairs, if they are mean or base in moral character, they will be reborn in lower abodes in their next existences. For this reason they should reform their minds and become noble.
The wicked will lose self-respect. Their brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, bhikkhus to whom they make offerings and their intimates will not love, revere and respect them. Lest they should thus be looked down upon by their intimates, they should reform their minds and become pure, honest and noble.
Moreover, people cannot believe that the wicked will be honest and sincere even when they give away in dana (charity), observe sila (precepts) and practise bhavana (meditation). Because of their wickedness their kamma will not bring wholesome benefits. Thus, out of fear of getting unwholesome consequences they should reform their minds and become pure, honest and noble.
Moreover, the wicked will be wicked not only in this present existence, but their evil nature will continue to prevail successively in a great many future existences. Because their entire physical and mental continuum have been suffused with wicked minds, it is impossible for them to attain sufficiency in accumulating virtues. Therefore for fear of not becoming mature in Paramis (Perfections), they should discipline their wicked minds immediately. These are the reasons why people should reform their minds.
How King Milinda disciplined his mind
Having asked the Venerable Nagasena some questions, King Milinda thought of asking more questions which would be very important for the Sasana (the Teaching of the Buddha). However, he waited for seven days and disciplined his mind to get concentration. This is quite a good example to the virtuous to follow.
How he prepared himself
He rose early in the morning, took a bath, attired himself in a dyed yellow dress and put on a head-dress concealing his hair to resemble a shaven head. In other words, he attired himself like a bhikkhu though he was not one, and observed meticulously the following eight principles for seven whole days.
I will not perform regal duties for seven days.
I will restrain myself from raga (greed).
I will restrain myself from dosa (hatred).
I will restrain myself from moha (delusion).
I will be humble and modest in dealing with my subjects and courtiers and restrain myself from conceit.
I will carefully restrain my words and actions.
I will restrain my sense organs, i.e., eyes, ears, etc., to be free from unwholesome thoughts when seeing, hearing and experiencing sense-objects.
I will radiate loving-kindness to all living beings.
He observed these eight principles for seven days, and on the eighth day he rose early in the morning, and in a cheerful, cool and calm attitude he asked the Venerable Nagasena questions on the profound Dhamma.
A Good Example
Following the example of King Milinda, good people should often practise restraining their minds even if it is for one or two days or for just one morning so that evil thoughts that habitually arise shall not appear. By repeated practice of restraining their minds, evil thoughts will get diminished and they will become noble and virtuous with development of
[[File:faith and knowledge. Evil thoughts that usually occur will not appear for many days.
The mind guides the world.
The mind leads the world.
All beings have to submit to the will of the mind.
Just as you prepare yourselves properly before posing for a photograph so as to get a good one; just so you should control your series of thoughts daily as a preparation for your journey to the Royal City of Peace, Nibbana.
Here ends the chapter on Consciousness.
On Cetasikas, Mental Factors and
Unwholesome Mental Factors
Cetasikas, Mental Factors or Concomitants
Cetasikas Determine the Mind
In the chapter on Citta, the concepts of good and evil minds have already been explained. But as the only function of the mind is to know the objects, it cannot by itself be good or evil. Since it arises together with different mental factors or cetasikas, it becomes good or evil depending on the associated mental factors being good or evil. What is meant is this: "Mental factors associated with the consciousness induce it to become good or evil."
Example: Even though water is in itself colourless it becomes red, yellow, blue or black respectively on addition of red, yellow, blue or black dye. In like manner consciousness behaves. Therefore, you should next pursue the study of mental factors so that you may understand good and evil minds.
Mind can only know objects; it by itself cannot determine good or evil. It is on account of the different cetasikas (mental factors) that the consciousness becomes good or evil.
14 Unwholesome Mental Factors
That Influence the Mind
3. Anottappa=moral fearlessness,
6. Ditthi =wrong view,
7. Mana=conceit, hatred, anger,
8. Dosa=hatred, anger
10. Macchariya =jealousy, selfishness,
11. Kukkucca =remorse,
12. Thina ([[[sloth]])],
13. Middha torpor,
14. Vicikiccha =doubt, scepticism
(a + kusala =opposite of + wholesome=unwholesome)
1. Moha (Delusion)
Two Kinds of Moha
Not knowing (delusion) is moha. It is of two kinds, namely, anusaya-moha and pariyutthana-moha. The term anusaya means inherent tendency or lying latent. The term pariyutthana means rising up. Therefore, delusion, which lies latent in the mind of beings, is called anusaya moha, the latent delusion. The delusion that occasionally arises together with the consciousness is called pariyutthana moha, the rising-up delusion.
Just as there is poison in a tree that bears poisonous fruits; just so in the mind-continuum of beings, there is an element, dhatu, which keeps hidden the Dhamma that ought to be known. That element is called anusaya moha, the latent delusion. Because of the concealing action of anusaya moha, worldlings, puthujjhanas, are unable to realise penetratingly the three characteristics of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering) and anatta (non-self); neither do they grasp the Four Noble Truths nor Paticcasamuppada, (the Law of Dependent Origination) in a comprehensive manner.
Worldlings cannot identify the latent delusion with their limited knowledge. Nowadays, even though people claim to know about anicca, dukkha, anatta, etc., through book learning, their knowledge is superficial; it is not clear, penetrative realisation. Even when one becomes a Stream-winner (Sotapanna), Once-returner (Sakadagami) or Non-returner (Anagami), anusaya moha only becomes thinner and thinner. Only when one attains Arahantship, is the anusaya moha dhatu, the latent delusion, completely eliminated. Therefore, even at the moment of performing good deeds or wholesome actions before becoming an Arahant, anusaya moha is present; it is only lying latent and quiet.
When moha rises together with the mind it is said that the bad mind, the unwholesome one, has appeared. Because of the concealing nature of this pariyutthana moha, evil consequences which one may suffer in future are not understood. And the evils of unwholesome actions of the present are also not understood. Therefore, even the learned and virtuous cannot see the evils of moha and will commit wrong deeds when moha arises. This moha, in the domain of evil, is the most wicked. In this world all wickedness and stupidity originate from moha; moha is the tap root of all evil.
The Wise Overwhelmed by Delusion
The Bodhisatta, Haritaca by name, having renounced the world, abandoning his immense wealth of eighty crores of money, became a hermit and attained the great supernatural powers, jhanas and abhinnas. Then, as the rains were heavy in the Himalayas, he came to Baranasi and stayed in the King's garden. The king of Baranasi was his old friend who was fulfilling the Paramis (Perfections) to become the Venerable Ananda. Therefore, as soon as he saw the hermit, he revered him so much that he asked him to stay in the royal garden and supported him with four requisites; he himself offered the hermit morning meals at the palace.
Once, as a rebellion broke out in the country, the king himself had to go out to quell it. Before setting out with his army, he requested the queen again and again not to forget to look after the hermit. The queen did as told. One early morning, she took a bath with scented water and put on fine clothes and lay down on the couch waiting for the hermit.
The Bodhisatta came through space with his supernormal power, abhinna, and arrived at the palace window. Hearing the flutter of the hermit's robe, the queen hastily rose from her couch and her dress fell off her. Seeing the queen divested of her clothes, the anusaya moha which lay dormant in his mind-continuum, rose to the stage of pariyutthana moha, and filled with lust, he took the queen's hand and committed immoral transgression like a monster ogre.
Note: We should consider the stupidity arising through moha in this story seriously. If such moha did not appear in him, he would not have committed such an evil deed even with the king's consent. But at that time, being overwhelmed by the darkness of delusion, he was unable to see the evil consequences of his deed in the present and the future existences throughout the samsara, and consequently, committed that improper transgression. The jhanas and abhinnas, which he had acquired through practice for all his life, were also unable to dispel the darkness of moha; instead, being overwhelmed by moha the power of jhanas and abhinnas themselves vanished from him.
But the hermit, being already quite matured in the Paramis (Perfections), learnt a bitter lesson and greatly repented his deed on the return of the king. He endeavoured again to gain his jhanas and abhinnas and contemplating: " I have done wrong because of dwelling in close proximity with the people," returned to the Himalayas.
Not Knowing is Not Always Moha
As moha is explained as not knowing, some people think that not knowing a subject which one has not studied not knowing places where one has not been to, not remembering names which one has not been acquainted with, are also moha. Such kind of not knowing is merely lack of knowledge; it is not real moha at all; hence it is not an unwholesome mental factor; it is merely the absence of recognition, or perception, sanna, that has not perceived it before. Even Arahants have such a kind of not-knowing, let alone ordinary common worldling.
Even the Venerable Sariputta, who is second only to the Buddha in wisdom, taught a meditation practice inappropriate to a young bhikkhu. Thinking that the young bhikkhu was at the lustful age, he prescribed asubha kammatthana, meditation on unpleasant objects (e.g., decaying corpses) which did not go with his pupil's disposition. Even though the pupil meditated for four months, he could not get the slightest nimitta, sign of concentration.
Then he was taken to the Buddha who created and gave him a lotus blossom suitable to his disposition, and he was delighted. And when the Buddha showed him the lotus flower withering, he felt samvega, a religious sense of urgency. The Buddha then gave him the discourse designed to make him realise the characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta and he became an Arahant. Herein note the infinite knowledge of the Buddha; and also note that there are things not known even to the Venerable Sariputta who was already free from delusion.
Thus, even the Venerable Sariputra did not know things beyond his ken. Thus, not knowing things which have not been taught and those which belong to the domain of the Buddhas, is not moha. It is merely the frailty of their knowledge or learning. For example, take the case of a man who cannot see a far away object in broad daylight. It is not due to a barrier concealing the object from eyesight; it is only because of the weakness of his eyesight.
Gross and Fine Moha
The moha which cannot discern between what is unwholesome or vice and what is wholesome or virtue is rather gross. The moha which prevents realisation of anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature of mind and matter, the Four Noble Truths, and the Law of Dependent Origination, is comparatively fine moha. The mind which is accompanied by moha is called "[delusive mind)], foolish mind" and one who is overpowered by delusion is called variously "the fool, the nincompoop, the dumb, the dull, the wild, the stupid, the useless."
"This world is in utter darkness. Only few people in this world can perceive extraordinarily. Just as only a few birds can escape from the net, people who can be reborn in the abode of devas after death are very few in number." (Dhammapada, v. 174)
Here ends the explanation about Moha, Delusion.
2. Ahirika (Moral Shamelessness)
Lack of moral shame is called ahirika. All immoral, unwholesome deeds are like faeces. Shamelessness, ahirika, is like a village swine. Faeces is very disgusting; being soiled with it, is embarrassing in the presence of people. But for the swine faeces is fine food. It is not disgusting and so there is no need to be embarrassed when soiled with it. Swine surely enjoy rolling about in faeces and partaking of it.
In the same way, duccaritas, wrong deeds, such as taking life, etc., are detestable deeds for the virtuous. Even when such deeds are committed unwittingly; it will be regarded shameful by the virtuous. But ahirika is not having detestation to do wrong deeds and not feeling ashamed of the wrong act. As a matter of fact, the shameless among themselves regard wrong deeds as something to take pride in.
When moha arises, it leads to ahirika (shame lessness); so even the wise do wrong shamelessly when deluded. Therefore, those who are acclaimed to be wise should judge with their own experiences the truth of what is said.
Note on the Story of Haritaca
In the misbehaviour of the hermit Haritaca, (see previous section on moha), shamelessness is very prominent. The hermit was a holy man of the first grade virtue who had already attained abhinnas (the higher know ledges). What the hermit did was a shameful act of lust committed in the presence of the attendants of the queen in the upper chamber of the palace. Such a mean and degrading act was committed because of utter delusion, moha and shamelessness, ahirika.
Every unwholesome deed is shameful. Not only dishonourable acts like that of the hermit but also acts of hatred such as abusing others, fuming and shouting, using coarse vulgar language, being puffed up with vain conceit, looking down upon others with foolish pride, decrying others in an indirect, allusive manner out of malicious envy, issa, etc., are also disgusting and shameful. Therefore we should bear in mind that all unwhole some deeds are shameful. The mind which arises together
with this ahirika (shamelessness) is called "a shameless mind", and the doer of evils is called "a shameless man".
3. Anottappa (Moral Fearlessness)
Lack of moral dread is having no fear, no dread (anottappa). In other words anottappa means devoid of moral dread. Evil deeds are like an open flame. Anottappa is like the moths. In fact the open flame is to be very much dreaded. However, moths do not think the open flame as dreadful and recklessly fly into it. Just so, evil deeds cause a variety of sufferings; so they are indeed to be dreaded. But moha (delusion) conceals those resultant sufferings; and anottappa does not see them as dreadful. Those factors prompt the doing of evil deeds boldly. With regard to evil deeds, the following dangers are impending.
1. Attanuvada-bhaya: the danger of blaming or accusing oneself, losing self-respect and having no self-esteem. Such a person will be oppressed by the thought, "Though many people think I am a virtuous gentleman, I know myself: I am not a virtuous man as they think. I am a wicked man who does evil deeds stealthily." (atta oneself + anuvada blame, accuse)
2. Paranuvada-bhaya: the danger of being blamed, being accused by others in this way, "You are a wicked person, doing unwholesome, evil deeds." (para by others; anuvada blame, accuse)
3. Danda-bhava: the danger of suffering and punishment such as being killed by others for having committed murder; being beaten by the owner for having stolen his property; being killed for committing adultery; being imprisoned for various criminal acts.
4. Duggati-bhaya: the danger of suffering from great remorse over one's evil deeds on one's deathbed and the prospect of being reborn in the four woeful abodes in the next existence.
Through artfulness, guile and cunning, one may be able to avoid the first three dangers brought about by one's evil deeds, but one will not be able to avoid the danger of falling into the four planes of misery in the next existence. Hence evil deeds are very dreadful indeed. However, when anottappa steps in, even the wise who normally dread evil acts are inclined to commit fearful deeds without shame or dread.
Note on the Story of Haritaca
Herein, the case of the Bodhisatta (the hermit Haritaca) should be reviewed. There are so many dreadful things in the story. Needless to say, the hermit suffered from the danger of blaming himself and losing self respect (attanuvada-bhava). As the bad news, "The king's teacher, the hermit, had done wrong with the queen", spread over the whole town during the absence of the king, he suffered from the danger of being blamed by others (paranuvada-bhava).
If the king, the would-be Ananda, were not a virtuous man fulfilling Paramis (Perfections), he would not have cared for the hermit's life as much as a blade of grass for his transgression. It was on account of the king's virtue that he narrowly escaped from being sentenced to death. As anottappa came in, the hermit dared to commit such an immoral act without fear of capital punishment. The mind which arises together with this recklessness is called anottappa-citta.
Just as the village swine does not abhor faeces, so the shameless man is not ashamed of his evils. Just as the moth does not fear the open flame, so the man void of ottappa (dread of sin) does not fear evil deeds.
(From Vibhavini Tika.)
4. Uddhacca (Distraction, Restlessness, Wavering)
Uddhacca means distraction. It may also be called the unsettled state of mind. Just as minute particles of ash fly about when a stone is thrown into a heap of ash, the mind which cannot rest quickly on an object but flits about from object to object is said to be distracted. The mind arising together with uddhacca is called the distracted mind. When one is overpowered by distraction, one will become a drifter, a floater, a loafer, an aimless person.
Nanda Thera's Inability to Concentrate
When Nanda, the young prince, was about to many Janapada Kalyani, Buddha took him to the monastery and ordained him a bhikkhu. He was so distracted that he could not concentrate on the Dhamma, his mind wandering back often to Princess Janapada Kalyani. In this story, Prince Nanda's state of mind which is unable to concentrate on Dhamma is a good example of uddhacca.
The Feeble Power of Uddhacca
Uddhacca is the inability to concentrate on any object steadfastly. Being distracted, one's mind wanders from this object to that object. Although uddhacca is akusala, of unwholesome nature, because it does no evil deeds effectively, it has no power to throw one into apayas, (the four woeful worlds), as greed, hatred and delusion do.
5. Lobha (Greed)
Lobha is greed, i.e., craving for sensual pleasures. But wanting to attain Nibbana, wanting to get Dhamma, wanting to be learned, wanting wealth for giving in charity to the poor, are not lobha. They are called chanda (desire) which will be dealt with later.
Other Terms for Greed
Lobha is also termed pema or tanha or raga or samudaya. The term pema is used for the love exchanged between sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives or members of the family, relatives, etc. Therefore pema means sincere love. This kind of sincere love is also called samyojana, which means binding. Samyojana binds one person to another as a rope does. It makes one inseparable from the other.
The five kinds of object, namely, sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, are sensuous objects; desired and cherished by people they are called kamaguna (kama=desirable + guna cords).
Like hunger and thirst, intense desire for these desirable objects that surpass ordinary wish is called tanha, craving. One who hankers after another of the opposite sex is labelled "mad with lust". Tanha means craving or hunger. Of the five sensuous objects, bodily touch (sexual union) is the most longed for, when it is called raga, lust. Raga also means clinging or attachment to something. Just as colour fastening on dyed cloth, raga is lobha which clings to a person. [These are not literal meanings; they are classified according to common usage.]
In the classification of the Four Noble Truths, lobha is termed samudaya. It means the cause of suffering or suffering-to-be. All beings who cannot do away with lobha have to wander round and round in the cycle of rebirths accompanied by suffering.
The suffering, immense or petty, being undergone now by all beings, originates in this tanha, lobha or samudaya. Therefore the more intense the greed, the more severe the suffering, and the less intense the greed, the less there is suffering. If there is no greed, there is no suffering at all. The mind which arises with lobha, is called the greedy mind, craving mind, lustful mind, or bonded mind. Persons with such minds are called the greedy, the craving, the lustful or the fettered.
Greed Does Not Get Diminished
If greed which is called craving or lust is not controlled by Dhamma, and allowed to go on by itself, it will never get diminished. As the protruding horn of a calf grows longer and longer as it grows older, the greed of a man which accompanies him since the embryonic stage increases with age. The aged who cannot control greed are blamed with the words "The hair-knot droops with size; foolishness grows with age."
Drinking Salty Water
Since birth children begin to love their parents, relatives and friends, etc. As they grow older they develop fondness and affection for playmates and friends. As they are being led by basic instinct, they become thirstier and thirstier for love as if they had drunk salty water. Then they drink it again and again and become more and more thirsty. Being thirsty for sensual pleasures, they indulge in them as they are unable to see the impending sufferings; they swirl about merrily in the sea of love.
"Love! Love! The more they love, the more they are insatiate, just as they cannot quench their thirst by drinking salty water. Love, pema or tanha, turns a blind eye to one's defects; expecting happiness through love, one nurtures love. This is the way of love, the nature of love." (An ancient Myanmar poem.)
How lobha Leads to the Four Woeful Abodes
Just as the smallest particle of a stone sinks in water, even petty greed can lead to the four woeful worlds if not supported by wholesome deeds. Therefore, there are many people who have become petas (miserable ghosts) because of attachment to their spouses, sons, daughters or wealth while on the death-bed. At the time of our Lord Buddha, a bhikkhu became a louse after his death because of attachment to his new robe. It is said that he was emancipated from the life of being a louse only after seven days.
Lobha Will Not Lead to the Four Woeful Worlds If Supported by Wholesome Deeds
Even though there is attachment, pema and tanha, for each other people will not be thrown down to the lower woeful worlds if they get the support of wholesome deeds. For example, a stone sinks in water, but will float if carried on a boat. Therefore, in the Jataka stories, there are instances of those who were not yet free from tanha and pema becoming close partners to fulfil Paramis (Perfections) together.
Point to Ponder
Having established a harmonious relationship, husband and wife do not want to part with each other; they want to fulfil Paramis (Perfections) together and attain Nibbana. A good lady, Sumitta by name, made a wish to be always together with the Bodhisatta Sumedha; Mahakassapa-to-be and Bhadda-to-be did the same. They fulfilled their Paramis together for many aeons. Are these instances of chanda, wish, (which will be dealt with hereafter) or of tanha-pema? It needs to be pondered upon.
Indeed, the persons in the stories were good virtuous people. The wish to associate with the virtuous is kusala-chanda, (wholesome wilful) desire. They were also persons of morality who were practising Paramis. In the Pali Canon, mention is made thus: "The wish of the virtuous is always fulfilled. Through chanda everything is accomplished." Therefore, even though they might have had tanha and pema which bind them together, because of their strong chanda (wholesome wish) the Bodhisatta, etc., became partners in fulfilling Paramis together as determined by the wholesome deeds they had performed.
"Ijjhati bhikkhave silavato cetopanidhi, visuddhatta."
"Bhikkhus, the wish of the virtuous is fulfilled because it is pure." (Anguttara Nikaya.)
Nakulapita and Nakulamata
At the time of the Buddha there lived a wealthy man, Nakulapita and his wife, Nakulamata. They had been together for many existences. They had become Sotapannas (Stream-winners) since they first paid homage to the Buddha. This couple had been the parents, or elder uncle and aunt or uncle and aunt of the Bodhisatta in many previous existences. They were very fond of the Buddha as though he was their own son and were so intimate with him that they asked him any question. Once the wealthy man said: "Venerable Sir, I took Nakulamata as my wife since my youth. Since then I hadn't even thought of infidelity, let alone actually doing it. I had always wanted to be in the presence of Nakulamata in the present life and I always want to be so throughout the samsara.
On hearing the words of Nakulapita, his wife also said frankly, "Venerable Sir, I came with him to his house since my youth. Since then I hadn't thought of anyone else. I had always wanted to be with him in the present life; and I always want to be with him throughout the samsara"
The Buddha said: "If man and wife, who are leading a harmonious life, wish to be together in the next existences, they should have the same faith, saddha, the same morality, sila, the same liberality, caga and the same level of knowledge, panna".
As the husband has pure faith, just so the wife should have the same. As he has pure morality, just so she should have. If one of them wishes to give charity, the other must comply. If she donates, he should encourage her. If he donates, she should be delighted. Their wisdom and knowledge must be same too.
For further clarification, the passage from Pancavudha Pyo (a Myanmar poem) is translated as follows:
"In the human abode, if husband and wife are in harmony and willing to be together, if they have the same liberality, morality, faith and confidence, they will be together in samsara like glorious devas and devis who are together in the heavenly abodes all along the cycle of rebirths."
Note on the Story
The love between husband and wife, who had already become Sotapannas (Stream-winners), should be considered first. As they loved each other sincerely enough, they did not think of being unfaithful. As their minds were so pure they held each other in high esteem and did not want to be separated from each other. They always wanted to be together in samsara. Although such a wish to be together is chanda based on lobha, the tanha, pema and lobha of these virtuous noble people would bind them to each other, and all their meritorious actions would lead them to a good destination.
In some cases, tanha-lobha is also called maya. Therefore, the nature of maya will be explained herein. Maya is like a magician, a conjurer. Just as the magician picks up a stone and makes the audience believe it to be a gold nugget; just so does maya conceal one's faults. It means one who exercises maya pretends to be flawless though one is not.
Once there was a professor and his student. The student's wife used to do wrong with another man. On the day of doing wrong she waited upon her husband more tenderly than ever. But, on the day of doing no wrong, she treated him as a slave. The student was unable to understand the peculiar mood of his wife. He was confused and related his experience to his professor. The professor had to expound to him the nature of women.
Note: In the story, as she wanted to conceal her faults on the day of adultery, she pretended to be very affectionate to her husband. That artfulness, craftiness, is maya. In some cases it is also called tankhanuppatti-nana, instant wit (tankhana at that moment; uppatti-nana — knowledge that appears). It is not real knowledge, but only spurious knowledge or simple cleverness. Real knowledge is concerned with only good matters.
A Crafty Wife
A housewife used to do wrong with her manservant. Once her husband saw her kissing the servant. As she noticed that she had been seen, she went to the husband and said: "Darling, this lad is dishonest. He had eaten your share of cookies. When I asked him, he denied. So I sniffed his mouth, and got the smell of cookies. We should not let him stay in our house."
Note: In the story, the act of kissing the servant was a grave offence. The clever, sudden thought of deceiving and concealing her misdeed is none other than maya. Not only woman but also men have such maya (trickery or pretences).
The Hermit's Maya
Once there lived at a village a hermit revered by a layman donor. For fear of robbers, the layman donor hid one hundred pieces of gold in a hole near the hermit's monastery and said, "Venerable Sir, please take care of it." The hermit said, "Devotee, it is not proper to ask a hermit to do so."
Then a thought occurred to the hermit: "One hundred pieces of gold will be sufficient for me to live in comfort", and he dug up the gold and hid it in another place close to a chosen footpath. On the next day after having his breakfast, the hermit said, "My donor, I have been living here for so long that I am inclined to be attached to you. So I must move to another place." The donor requested him again and again not to do so, but his pleadings were all in vain. All he could do was to see the hermit off at the village gate.
After travelling some distance, the hermit returned and said, "Devotee donor, a blade of thatch from your roof is entangled in my hair. It is improper for a hermit to take things which are not given him." The simple donor thought him to be so virtuous that he revered him even more.
However, at that moment, a very wise guest putting up at his house said, "Have you ever asked the hermit to keep anything under his care? If so please go and see." When he did so he could not find the gold, so together with the guest he pursued the hermit and caught him red-handed.
Note: In the story, the hermit returned a blade of thatch to the devotee, in order to hide his theft; this wily act amounts to maya. Thus, as deceit, stratagems (pariyaya, maya) can be employed even by some hermits or samanas, there is much trickery and cheating amongst the laity these days. Few people can be trusted; to associate with honest people is possible only as a result of wholesome deeds done in the previous lives.
Varieties of Maya
Apart from stories about the concealment of one's faults, there are many other tricks such as show of indignation by trampling rudely to pretend innocence; concealing one's guilt by way of threatening the accuser or by way of flatteries, etc.
Cunning people as such are commonly found in dwellings, houses, etc., where many people reside together. If during the night someone has discarded filth, night-soil, at an unsuitable place, he will pretend to have done nothing in the morning. If he releases foul wind, he will produce a similar sound by rubbing the leather rug so as to mislead others, i.e., (he will make others think it to be the sound of the leather rug). Thus, there are many kinds of maya. So, the old folks used to say; "One thousand stratagems (pariyaya), a hundred thousand artifices (maya), an infinite number of tricks. Grains from nine mats of sand and leaves from nine cutch trees are needed to reckon the number of tricks called mayar pariyaya."
Along with mayaa should also be understood. When one pretends to have certain qualities and make others think highly of him, such kind of lobha is called satheyya. Maya conceals one's faults and pretends to be faultless, whereas satheyya pretends to have non-existent qualities. Both of them are trickery or deceptions.
Pretending to be virtuous though not; pretending to have good practice though having none; pretending to be learned though not; such pretences are called satheyya. So long as his pretensions are not discovered by clever lay donors, the pretentious satheyya monk may feel safe. Even when they see through the deceptions, they would opine "That is not our concern, whether he deceives or not." The monk continues to enjoy the fruits of his satheyya.
Satheyya in the Laity
Satheyya means pretending to be virtuous though not; pretending to have mental concentration though having none; pretending to have ability though not; pretending to be a graduate (B.A., M.A, etc.) though not; pretending to be rich though not, etc.—these are the satheyya in the laity.
Evils of Satheyya
Maya and satheyya are more wicked than lobha (common greed). The following will clarify this fact. Monks, who have no morality, concentration and wisdom, pretending to have them, will boast to be like the virtuous who have real morality, concentration and wisdom. As a result of such pretensions, they will suffer in samsara. The laymen, who happen to take refuge in such monks, will not gain knowledge; offerings given to them will not be of much merit to the donors. There are also cunning people, who pretend to have morality and concentration; many girls come to grief on account of them. Due to the indecent livelihood and the misdeeds of the so-called gentlemen, many people in towns and villages come to lead immoral lives.
Not only do the so-called leaders, who pretend to possess good leadership ability though having none, squander the lives and property of their followers but they also bring about loss of sovereignty and finally the country itself. Some girls put their trust in the men who pretend to be rich and prestigious; when they happen to marry such men their marriage would in no way be blessed and auspicious but end in disaster.
Moreover, if one or both parties conceal their faults with maya and pretend with satheyya to be wealthy, they will be exposed soon after marriage. Then can they love their cheating spouses (or their relatives)? Will they be happy if they live together without sincere love? To be a happily married couple, not only carnal desire but also true, sincere love is essential.
A marriage between Buddhists is not meant for the present life only. If they live in harmony, together they will go to the temple and monastery, make offerings and do good deeds; they are then likely to enjoy the resultant benefits in the cycle of rebirths. If marriages are tainted with maya and satheyya, the couple will do good deeds unwillingly, and consequently be unable to enjoy benefits not only in this life but also in samsara. Therefore, people should be free from maya and satheyya if they ever intend to live a married life together.
Thus, as maya and satheyya deceive one or many people or even the whole country (as in the case of sectarian leaders who pretend to be Buddhas) or the whole world, they should be categorised as very wicked. However, people who regard themselves to be virtuous and have fulfilled Paramis (Perfections) should take care that dishonest and wicked states of mind do not appear in them and in the people who are related with them; and they should all strive to be pure, intelligent, active, righteous and noble-minded personages.
6. Ditthi (Wrong View)
Wrong view or wrong understanding is called ditthi. It may also mean wrong belief. Ditthi sees or understands wrongly what is absent to be present, what is present to be absent, what is right to be wrong and what is wrong to be right; it also dogmatically takes one's wrong view to be right and other's right views to be wrong.
Believing in the almighty creator of the world and beings when there is none; believing that there is an atta (soul) in the body of beings when there is not; these wrong beliefs are ditthi which believes what is absent to be present. Falsely believing that neither good nor bad deeds will bring forth results later on, when they do so in reality; falsely believing that there are no results of kamma when beings do enjoy or suffer the results of kamma in many ways; falsely believing that there is no Nibbana, even though there is Nibbana, the cessation of mind, matter and suffering; falsely believing that there are no next existences even though there is an endless cycle of rebirths before the attainment of Nibbana. Such wrong beliefs are ditthi, which believes what is present to be absent.
The following beliefs are ditthi, which sees what is false to be true:
Killing beings for sacrificial offering is a meritorious deed. Bathing when it is very cold, heating one's body amidst four fires at noon when it is very hot and behaving like cows and dogs are good practices for purification of defilements. Washing away unwholesome deeds in the River Ganges at a suitable time is also good practice.
Believing that charity, morality and mental development (dana, sila, and bhavana) do not lead to the realisation of Nibbana is ditthi which takes what is true to be false.
In this way, wrong view, ditthi, is of many kinds. The mind which is soiled with ditthi is called ditthicitta, and one who adheres to wrong view is called a micchaditthi, a heretic. (With regard to the remaining mental factors, please note how minds and persons are named in accord with the accompanying cetasikas.)
7. Mana (Conceit)
Haughtiness is called mana (conceit). Those who posses mana tend to be haughty and mean, turning their nose up at others. When they excel others in status, wealth, knowledge, health, etc., they think highly of themselves and look down upon others. When they are equal to others in status, wealth, etc., they reason thus:
"Others are not different from us; we, too, have such things" and will be puffed up with pride nevertheless. When their position, wealth, knowledge, health, etc., are lower than others, they reason thus: "We needn't heed their higher position, wealth, etc., we eat only what we have; we get only what we work for. Why should we kowtow to others?"; though inferior to others they will still be conceited.
Common Forms of Conceit, and How to Dispel Them
Jati-mana: Being conceited of birth or caste is called jati-mana. Nowadays there still are fairly good people known by birth. However, their birth is not reason enough to be conceited, to boast about, to think of others as being despicable, as inferior or of low caste. Even though one is born of a noble family or of royal blood, if one is kind, polite and gentle to the poor, one will be loved and respected all the more. Some could argue, "Familiarity breeds contempt"; true, some rude persons may show disrespect to you. If so, it is their own fault and they will encounter unpleasant consequences. Thus you should be considerate and be careful not to be conceited of your birth.
Dhana-mana: The conceit of the rich is called dhana mana. Nowadays, there are many people possessing some wealth who seldom associate with the poor. They may think of themselves to be immensely rich or wealthy as the Myanmar saying goes, "Having never seen a river, one thinks a creek to be the great river." But, if they are broad-minded and kind towards the poor, won't they be honoured more than ever? Won't they even get help from them when in danger? The smiling face and the gentle speech of the rich can be the most effective elixir for the poor.
Therefore, wealth, which has been acquired for this existence because of charity done in the previous lives, should not be the basis of mana which would lead one to lower strata of life in future existences. The wealthy should strive to be of dignified manner to win the trust of the people and to render assistance to them. The immense wealth in this life faces many dangers. Even if there are no such dangers, it is good only for the present existence.
"The wealth of the king, dwelling in a golden palace, complete with regalia, surrounded by ministers and courtiers, is like a bubble appearing for a moment on the surface of the ocean."
(The Minister Anantasuriya)
Panna-mana: The conceit of the educated is called panna-mana. Knowledge is an asset meant to teach people what is proper and what is not and how to be civilised in cultural and social relations. However, it is a great shame to be conceited because of one's education and academic qualifications. Education is something learnt from others and not an extraordinary achievement.
Anyone can acquire formal education given the chance to learn from a good teacher.
When we come across illiterates and very dull persons, we should not be conceited and proud and look down upon them, we should instead be kind to them and teach them what we can. Once there was a learned venerable abbot who was famous in both worldly knowledge and Dhamma scriptures, because he had taught others with great patience in his past existence. Hence, we should make use of our education to the benefit of ourselves in samsara.
Two Paths of the Acquisition of Learning
Since vocational training is meant for livelihood, it needs no further explanation. However, for bhikkhus who are studying the Pali canon, there are two paths to follow.
The Lower Path
Learning Pali scriptures with greed, hatred and conceit in mind; learning with the hope: "When I become learned, I shall be famous; my donors will increase in number; I shall get good alms-food, robes, and monasteries; I shall excel above others; I needn't care for anybody and I can do as I wish, etc." Having finished his education, he follows the set path of acquiring gains and fame and of flaunting his learning with conceit. Such learning of Pali scriptures to pursue gains and to boast is evil and will lead one to the woeful abodes. This is indeed the lower path. One had better pass the time snoozing rather than learn with wicked intention," said the scriptures.
The Higher Path
A bhikkhu learns Pali scriptures with the hope: "If I have digested the Pali scriptures, I shall truly understand the Dhamma and I shall teach others; I shall always look at the mirror of the Pitaka literature and correct, purify and straighten my mind and become noble"; he learns not to pursue gains and impress donors; instead, he tries to learn as he nobly aspires to. His way of learning will lead to the higher abodes. This is indeed the higher path.
Some bhikkhus learn the scriptures with the intention to pass prescribed examinations, to gain academic fame. But they will change their mean objectives and become noble-minded when they actually become learned. Just as water in a half-filled jar laps about but is stable when it is full to the brim; just so when they get adequate learning, they will follow the higher path. May all young learners get on the higher path and become learned and noble!
Conceit of Physical Beauty
The conceit of physical beauty is also called the conceit of personal appearance. Because of being free from dosa (hatred) in the previous existences, offering flowers, cleaning the pagoda and monastery precincts, etc., one becomes famous for beauty in the present existence. One may well take pride in such pleasant appearance.
However, on reflecting one's past, recalling how one had been free from hatred and had been virtuous donors of water, flowers, etc., one should not feel conceited in this life. One should try to culture good thoughts and be gentle and virtuous.
Note: The virtuous, who had attained Nibbana could have taken pride in themselves and their conceit could have risen sky-high if they had wished to. Some had been of royal blood. In the realm of wisdom, a Bodhisatta, the wise Mahosadha was world-famous. Among women, there were the virtuous and beautiful such as Uppala vanna, Khema, Yasodhara who were of high birth, of great wealth and knowledge and also of great beauty and charm.
Such men and women were not conceited for their wisdom, caste, virtue or beauty. On the other hand, people of inferior status are conceited for their caste, knowledge, petty wealth and common beauty as in the Myanmar saying: "In a grove of shrubs the castor-oil plant reigns" - it is indeed a great shame.
One who is conceited, one with vain pride, one who is haughty, will be hated by others and having lived in vain, will be reborn in the lower woeful abodes in successive existences. Hence you should uproot your conceit and be as humble "as a snake whose fangs are removed, as the bull whose horns are broken, as the doormat stepped on with dirty feet", so that you may soar higher and higher in status in future existences.
8. Dosa (Hatred)
Anger or violence of mind is called dosa (hatred). Dosa is not only violent but it also soils the mind. It is not only wild and rude, but also depressive resulting in inferiority complex and living in fear; they all belong to the category of dosa or hatred (ill will).
In brief sorrow, grief, fear, depression, anger, grudge, frightening others with abusive language, attacking, planning to kill other people - all of these are dosa.
Since dosa is with both fear and violence, the angry, violent person is also easily frightened. Be aware of such persons. (Violence is called ascending hatred, whereas fear is called descending hatred.)
The Story of a Lass
In India, there once was a young lady who suffered from the evil consequences of hatred. The story is related here not only to clarify the concept of dosa but also to remind the parents who used to force their sons and daughters into marriage without the their consent, without love between bride and bridegroom.
A young lad and a young lady in this story were not acquainted with each other before. They were betrothed and married by arrangement of their parents. Though the young lady, being a daughter of a good family, did her chores dutifully, the young lad neither appreciated her services nor loved her sincerely. She began to be disappointed because he did not care for her in spite of her amiably attending to him. She was unhappy and was often lost in despair. Her husband, having no love lost for his wife, when seeing her cheerless behaviour hated her more and more and became violent. Although she was unsatisfied with her husband's behaviour, there was no choice for her but to carry on with her household duties.
However, she being not a lifeless rock, but a living being with a sentiment, often attempted suicide. Although she suffered much from disappointment, unpleasantness, unhappiness and fear, she bore the suffering till she got two children. But at last she could not bear the burden any more and wrote a letter to her husband away on business which runs thus—
"My lord, though you had become my husband married by order of my parents, I really loved you and tried to win your love. But it was all in vain. I was accused of cheating and concealing my faults; and I was so disappointed that I often tried to resort to suicide, but it was a failure because of my children. Anyhow, it is of no use to live any more. After writing this letter, I will take my own life after putting poison in my children's food."
Having read this letter, the husband reflected over her goodwill and returned home quickly, only to find three dead bodies. He also shot himself in remorse. ( in this story, hatred is prominent.) When one happens to fall into such a situation, one should try to be broad-minded and treat one's wife kindly.
In conjunction with dosa (hatred), makkha, palasa, soka, parideva, dukkha, domanassa and upayasa which are common to lay life should also be studied. Of them, makkha means ingratitude or being blind to the good turns of others; it is a kind of dosa. There are many good deeds done by others to a person since his childhood such as the good deeds of his parents, teachers, good friends, etc. If he does not regard the good deeds as such and does not thank them and is ungrateful to them saying, "No good deed have they done to me. I need not be grateful to them," and becomes blind to them, this is makkha.
Some people are not only blind to the benevolence of their benefactors, but also do wrongs to them. They are called mittadubbhi (the wicked who have done wrong to their friends). Gratitude is similar to a debt, a deferred payment. Although you cannot yet return benevolence to them, you should regard your benefactors as benefactors. When you get a chance to repay the gratitude you should do so with all your heart.
Dhamma: If you take shelter under a tree, don't break its boughs and branches. Those who break its boughs and branches are the wicked ones.
The Grateful Son
In a certain town there once was a lad who worked hard as a common labourer and looked after his widowed mother. His mother was immoral and was having affairs secretly. His friends who knew about the mother felt pity for the lad and disclosed the affair to him. However, he said, "Let my mother be happy; whatever she does, I shall attend to her." (Good sons and daughters are as rare as good parents.)
Note: In this story, the immorality of his mother is her own burden. The work of attending on her is the duty of the son. In attending to such a single mother, the sons and daughters need not regard themselves as looking after her as a mother, instead, they should bear in mind that they are repaying their old debts of gratitude to a great benefactor. Therefore, every good man or woman who wishes to gain benefit in the present and next existences through out samsara, should try to repay his or her old debt of gratitude to great benefactors. The Bodhisatta, when he was an animal, repaid the gratitude of his mother elephant. (A white elephant looking after his blind mother elephant was captured by the king. He refused to take food in protest, told the king about his mother, and was released.)
Palasa (Ill will)
Palasa is a kind of dosa, ill will, which competes with superiors. A person cannot tolerate those who are superior to him in morality, concentration, wealth, beauty or civility, so he competes with them saying "What's the difference between him and me?" This he says in spite of knowing that they are better than he is. But if he is sincerely mistaken that he has such qualities in him and competes with others, it cannot be called palasa.
Soka means sorrow, domanassa-vedana, (mental factor of suffering) which will be discussed later on. The state of being unhappy on coming across unpleasant incidents, is called soka, sorrow. Wherever sorrow appears, hatred will also accompany it. Therefore sorrow should also be understood in conjunction with hatred. Sorrow arises frequently in the hearts of people nowadays. Sorrow arises due to the deaths of their relatives, due to loss of wealth, due to mishaps of their friends— all such sorrow is called soka.
A Kind of Domanassa (Mental Suffering)
There is also a kind of domanassa, (mental suffering) which is mistaken to be sorrow. One is at times anxious about health of dear ones; anxious about beloved ones not returning in due time after a journey; anxious about one's offspring in many ways. Such anxiety is not sorrow. Anxiety encoded in the thought, "They will be in trouble when I pass away," is not sorrow; it is merely domanassa (mental suffering).
Can You Benefit From Sorrow or Anxiety?
The above mentioned sorrow or anxiety are really uncomfortable states of mind; they endanger the mind, creating heartfelt sorrow and intense anxiety. They are painful forces and influences; one in no way gains anything from these. In reality they burn the heart and harm the mind without yielding a single benefit. Therefore a wise person will avoid great anxiety or sorrow with steadfast mindfulness (sati) and prepare beforehand to meet adverse situations. For example, parents who are anxious of the health of their children should take caution in nutrition, mode of travel, etc., in daily life. If unavoidable illness occurs, the only reasonable action is to call in a doctor, not to be unnecessarily anxious.
If there is impending danger along a particular journey, parents should stop their children going on that journey. If they have to travel to such places, precautionary measures should be taken for them before hand. Parents should place a reliable person in charge of their children to protect them. Even after taking such safety measures and precautions for them, should the children meet danger or even death, for not following the guidance of parents, no sorrow should be shown; they deserve no sorrow or remorse at all. If parents still feel sorrow for the loss of their children despite adequate precaution, they are very foolish indeed. Indeed in this age many youngsters do not follow the discipline and guidance of their elders and most of them encounter great danger and harm. So, is it reasonable and proper to feel sorrow at these situations? Teachers and parents should ponder over these facts.
Parideva (Weeping or Lamentation)
Weeping or lamentation is called parideva. But at the root of these lamentations lie dosa and domanassa (mental pain). Most people feel sorrow and grief when they see the coining of the fall in status, office, fame, power, wealth, etc. They also feel downhearted, which is soka, a form of domanassa. When they cannot keep soka under control, there occurs the sound of weeping which is called parideva, lamentation. What people call 'the fire of parideva' is actually not the sound of weeping, but the burning of dosa and domanassa extreme enough to cause the sound of weeping occur.
Can One Benefit From Weeping?
Like anxiety, weeping also is useless without any benefit at all. As it is natural to cry over the sudden loss of relatives and loved ones, one should not blame them. Even the Venerable Ananda wept when the Buddha passed into Nibbana. But today quite a number of people are seen to weep aloud and show extreme distress to attract the pity of others. When one hears melancholic crying and grief, one also becomes sorrowful and all happiness fades.
So, seeing the impact of grief and loud crying on others one should not do so. Loud weeping, in fact, displays one's lack of self-control. Therefore even if people should lament being overcome by grief, they should exercise self-control and try to wipe out the tears quickly. And people can conquer lament by taking the examples of noble persons who can restrain their intense grief and severe losses. And people can get consolation by means of wise sense of urgency (samvega), i.e., sense of weariness in the sufferings one is faced with.
How the Bodhisatta Consoled Himself
In one of their previous existences, the Bodhisatta and his spouse (the Yasodhara-to-be), after renouncing their immense wealth, became hermits and dwelled in a forest. The hermitess was very adorable, and her cheerful appearance won respect and admiration from all who saw her.
After sometime in the forest, she became weak and ill because she had to eat raw fruits and alms-food instead of the tasty dishes she used to relish as a lay woman. She suffered from dysentery and was feeling very weak. The Bodhisatta helped her along till they came to the city gate. She was gently made to take rest in the road-side shed while the Bodhisatta went into the city for alms-round. She died before the hermit returned from the alms-round. When the townspeople saw the corpse in the roadside shed, they all lamented at her sudden demise though they were no relatives of her. Then they prepared to perform funeral rites.
At that time, the Bodhisatta hermit returned from alms-round and saw the great and sudden loss. Instead of showing intense grief and weeping aloud, he just sat near his wife's corpse and ate his morning meal. He was calm and composed while others shed tears and wailed. After his meal he preached to them a suitable discourse to extinguish the fire of parideva burning fiercely in them.
Mallika, Wife of General Bandhula
Another interesting story is about Mallika, the wife of General Bandhula. This couple, during the reign of King Kosala, had sixteen twin (thirty two) sons. These sons, together with their followers, used to come to the palace for royal audience.
Seeing their numerous followers, some ministers got envious and told the king made-up stories. They falsely informed the King that Bandhula and his sons would one day conspire against the king, who, lacking due intelligence and wisdom, believed in the slanders. So he ordered his men to trick Bandhula and his sons into a house and burn them alive. The king's men killed them all by setting the house ablaze.
The next day, when Mallika was about to offer alms to the Venerable Sariputta and his follower bhikkhus, the bad news arrived. Mallika stayed composed and showed no sign of grief. Indeed the loss was really great, but she did not suffer from lament at all and carried on with her meritorious deed.
Note: Of the above two instances, in the case of the Bodhisatta hermit, there is no wonder for his stoicism because he had been fulfilling progressive Paramis (Perfections) in his every existence. He already had ample moral maturity to control himself. But in the case of Mallika, people should emulate her noble ways. She was of the weaker sex, and yet controlled herself by the good thoughts of the meritorious deeds at hand. In our lives we have to face hundreds of problems although we could not live a hundred years. Therefore everyone should try to subdue pain and sorrow, grief and lamentation by all means. For example, when in the face of great sorrow, one should reason like this, "How complete is my fulfilment of Paramis (Perfections)?" A sorrowful experience should be taken as a test of one's Parami.
Dukkha and Domanassa
Physical suffering is called dukkha and mental suffering domanassa. Everyone feels the impact of earning a living, and other hardships related to it. These impacts cause physical suffering or weariness. In this world people moan " Oh! Dukkha! Dukkha!" whenever they suffer from physical pain. But it is possible to escape mental suffering whilst experiencing physical suffering. For example, during the countless lives while accumulating Paramis (Perfections), the Bodhisatta had experienced physical pain. He had to suffer physical suffering as Mahosadha and Vessantara. But he had a determination to deliver all kinds of beings from samsara. With great compassion and his resolution to achieve enlightenment, he had been free from mental pain.
These mental suffering such as anxieties, depressions, disappointments and despair pertain to the mind and they are collectively termed domanassa. This is a kind of illness that inflicts the mind. Someone will react like this: "Oh, don't talk about this fellow, I don't want to hear! It gives me much pain." Such suffering commonly referred to as mental pain, may or may not be accompanied by physical suffering. In this world there are many persons who, although affluent and prosperous, abounding in material wealth, are suffering from mental pain called domanassa. This shows the truth of suffering as taught in the Dhammacakka Sutta which declares "Yam piccham na labhati, tampi dukkham"—suffering due to not getting what one wants as well as not wanting what one gets. Actually this mental suffering is more intense, more severe than physical pain. Thus even a person living a luxurious life cannot endure mental suffering. He would leave his big luxurious house and all his property, and move to a small hut to live happily with the one he loves. He can endure physical poverty but not the pain of mental suffering, that is, separation from his loved one.
Indeed, there are many ways to overcome sorrow, depression, anxiety or disappointments in life and keep oneself in a happy state. But we can be sure that these ways of adapting oneself to changing circumstances are not easy to follow for the not so wise. In a nutshell, people should be far-sighted and plan ahead for the future. And one must be diligent and industrious in carrying out one's plans. Yet, if there be failures and disappointments despite one's efforts, one should not despair. These are due to the effects of bad Kamma. (Try again with more vigour for, should one really strive hard, one can become even a Fully-Enlightened One.) It is important that one should maintain one's integrity and remain calm and composed in the face of the ups and downs of life, known as Lokadhammas, which are eight in number.
1. Labha = Acquiring wealth, requisites, etc.,
2. Alabha = Not acquiring wealth, requisites, etc.,
3. Yasa = Having followers,
4. Ayasa = Not having followers,
5. Ninda = Being blamed,
6. Pasamsa = [[Being praised,
7. Sukha = Happiness,
8. Dukkha = Suffering.
These are four good and four bad circumstances in life. When you encounter the four good conditions, you must not be elated and proud. When you encounter the other four you must not be distressed. If you feel either elated or distressed, you are getting perturbed, you, are being tossed about in the sea of worldly storms. Those who are emotionally unstable and easily moved from a state of elation to one of depression are the victims of domanasa. Those who want to get mental peace in the ups and downs of life must have a steadfast mind.
Labha and Alabha
Everyone should honestly earn a living and work for material gain by lawful means. In doing so, one may accumulate wealth, which should not be the cause to be elated or boastful. On the other hand some people, while earning a livelihood, encounter material loss, and get poorer and poorer. In such a case one must not cry over it; instead, one must remain composed and calm. It must be understood that even a king may have to give up his sceptre and crown, bringing the country into servitude. Therefore, one should build up fortitude to remain calm and composed under the stress of vicissitudes of life.
Yasa and Ayasa
Teachers, leaders and great men ought to have a retinue of followers. As a fence protects a building it encloses, so followers usually protect their leaders and render service to them. In turn, leaders should reward their followers. Generosity brings in a large number of followers; and they should be treated with due respect. Leaders must have the good will to enhance the life of the followers. Even servants and menials should be treated like co-workers and friends. As a result they will give full protection and good service. If, in spite of one's goodwill, one has few or no followers, there is no need to be worried. On the other hand, when one is surrounded by many followers one should not be conceited and haughty.
Fame is an asset not only in this one life but also in the future lives. Great and noble tasks can be accomplished only by persons of great fame and quality. A saying goes. Gunavante passanti jana—People revere persons of rank and status." Everyone should cultivate wisdom, intelligence and perseverance to attain great fame. One should not be conceited for one's fame; nor should one be depressed for not being famous.
Ninda and Pasamsa
Envious and jealous persons and fault-finders are in abundance everywhere. In this life, therefore, it is very difficult to be praised and very easy to be blamed. Nevertheless one should try to live righteously by means of mindfulness. No one is immune from blame. Even the bull created by Sakka, King of Devas, was blamed for the softness of its dung. So there is a saying, "Hate sees only faults; love sees only praise; fondness leads to trust." In this life ill will is prolific and fault-finders are abound.
But those who blame others should ask themselves "Are we free from faults? Are we flawless?" No one is flawless like the Bodhisatta Mahosadha, King Vessantara, Venerable Kassapa, Venerable Sariputta, or Venerable Ananda. In the case of women they are far from being faultless like Amara, Kinnari, Maddi, and Sambula, the four exemplary ladies.
In a village, a young boy told his father that a neighbour falters in speech. He stuttered: "Oh father! Our neighbour . . . ah.. . .ah, has..... has..... fal....ter....ing.. spe.. .ech. He was probably oblivious of the fact that he himself had the same defect.
Some fault-finders cover up their own faults and conceal their shortcomings. They are hypocrites who do steal but pretend to be innocent, like a wily cat.
Sometimes, due to envy and jealousy, people blame others but usually they emulate their ways. Gossips slander a young girl when a young man frequently visits her but these gossips actually want the young man to visit them.
Such are the ways of the world. It is only natural to come across the eight vicissitudes already mentioned. A victim of slander may not be as blameworthy as critics make out to be. Sometimes a trivial fault may be exaggerated. So it is best to appraise one's fault by oneself in the light of ottappa (moral fear) and hiri (moral shame).
Those who are afraid of ghosts dare not go into the dark; when they do, they might see a tree-stump and yell "Ghost! Ghost!" Since their minds entertain the fear of ghosts constantly, they imagine that ghosts are chasing them.
Some people are too much preoccupied with the possible onset of blame so much so that fear plays a dominant part in their lives. In the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha said, "One who is too overcome by fear of criticism is like a deer that startles and takes flight at the slightest sound; he is one who is timid, faint-hearted and irresolute." People too overcome by fear have nothing to gain. They only encourage critics and fault-finders. The timid make easy prey for fault-finders.
On the other hand, criticisms. comments and condemnations are in a way signs of fame: nobody cares to talk of little-known persons. People take notice of only the prominent. For example, the tallest tree is most subject to the impact of strong winds. As you soar higher and higher in society, you are more and more liable to face the eight Lokadhammas, vicissitudes. Therefore you should be indifferent to them bearing in mind that such things are the signs of your fame and success.
Just ask yourself: "How steadfast am I?" Only then will you be able to withstand unjust condemnations and false comments with equanimity. And you must try to live a faultless life.
Just as you ought to be indifferent to blame, you should also be unmoved in the face of praise. You should not be elated by praise. You must be aware that benefits are the fruits of good work or good deeds. Continue to nurture metta (loving-kindness); and share merits thus: "May others receive recognition like me! May they enjoy praises like me!"
Summing up, among the eight worldly circumstances, four are desirable and others undesirable. Since time immemorial all sentient beings had done good and bad deeds in countless past lives, they all will have good and bad effects, or ups and downs, in this life. Situations desirable and undesirable are periodic phases of life. Unflinching, try to withstand the ups and downs and sail across the ocean of samsara through storms and winds towards the peaceful Shore of Nibbana where all sufferings cease.
For example, captains of ocean-going vessels cannot always expect calm and smooth seas in their voyages. They are bound to encounter rough seas, turbulent winds and storms, or rolling waves that may even endanger their ships. Under such circumstances, skilful captains use their intelligence and industry to steer their ships through perilous seas and storms to drop anchor at a safe haven.
Katatta nanakammanam, itthanitthepi agate,
Yoniso tittham sandhaya, tareyya naviko yatha.
Due to deeds of good and bad kamma in past existences, we encounter situations both desirable and undesirable. Come what may, we must be like the captain of a ship; with confidence, zeal and skill, we must face storms and gales and overcome difficulties and dangers. We must be unmoved by the eight worldly conditions to steer straight to drop anchor at the Port of Nibbana.
Maxim: It is natural for everyone to face the eight worldly conditions. We should try to practise mental concentration and nurture a stoical mind.
Upayasa (Intense Anger)
When one comes across material losses, death of loved ones, downfalls or failures, there arises upavasa. intense anger. It means extreme wrath. Ordinary anger leads to violence or even killing, while upayasa gives you superlative anxiety and ire. The flame of anxiety and fury in the heart boil the blood circulating in the body. So a person with intense anger will get lapses or fits, or even lose consciousness.
On the demise of a loved one, a person weeps aloud. This is parideva. When parideva intensifies, he can no longer wail; he will get fits and fall unconscious. But upayasa is even more intense than parideva. Anxiety, soka, is like hot oil in a frying pan. Parideva is like the boiling over of the heated oil. Upayasa is like the complete burning and evaporation of the remaining oil.
Upayasa effects persons who have weak minds and those who depend too much on others. The weaker sex is more prone to suffer from upayasa. Feminine mind and physique are not as strong as the masculine and are often inclined to depend on others due to inadequate wisdom and knowledge concerning strengthening of mind. They easily suffer from soka and parideva which overwhelms their subtle physique easily and develop into the state of upayasa. This in turn causes one to faint.
Even males, when they are physically weak, cannot withstand excessive anxieties. Therefore one needs nutritious food to be physically strong and to bravely face the sufferings arising from upayasa. Every one should first extinguish soka and parideva quickly. Only then will they not pass on to upayasa. (Methods to extinguish soka and parideva have been mentioned earlier.)
Here ends what needs be said about Dosa.
9. Issa (Envy)
When one hears about or meets an individual superior to one in beauty, wealth, education or morality one often feels envious. This unwholesome thought is issa (envy). There are many who do not appreciate good tidings of others. They would comment "All birds are as beautiful as owls", "Such rabbits are found in every bush". These condemnations and comments grow out of issa. (People in country folk in their envious state of mind, say, "Similar toddy shells can be found under every toddy palm".]
There are proverbs which say, "Envy arises when someone excels you. Having similar objectives breeds hostility." Envy mostly exists in workers who feel inferior to co-workers. Especially persons of same rank or status are affected by envy. For example, a fish-paste monger does not usually feel or show envy to a jeweller. But among fish-paste sellers and among jewellers, being subject to competition, there are many who feel or show envy towards one another. So also among bhikkhus envy can arise. Even some preachers and abbots are not free from slandering and envy.
By feeling envious and by fabricating slander, one only ruins oneself because the wise condemn one as a worthless person. And the envious shall fall into woeful abodes in samsara, whereas the envied will not be affected at all. Since issa is an unwholesome (akusala) mental factor, everyone should abhor and eliminate it.
Hogs and the Emerald Cave
Once upon a time, a big lion has his den in an emerald cave in the Himalayas. Near this cave lived a herd of hogs; and they live in constant fear of the fierce lion. They blamed the emerald glow of the cave for their woe. So they first rolled about in a muddy lake and rubbed the emerald cave with mud. However, the emerald cave grew more and more radiant and shiny. Likewise, those who slander, envy and belittle others, actually get opposite consequences. Only they themselves will suffer from hardship while the others are propelled further into prosperity.
Attukkamsana and Paravambhana
Attukamsana means praising one's own self either in speech or writing (atta self + ukkamsana elevate, praise). Paravambhana means belittling or down-grading others (para others + vambhana =down-grading, belittling; denunciation).
In the case of attukkamsana people will feel mana (vainly proud) and lobha (naively pleased) of their status.
In the case of paravambhana, issa (envy) and dosa (hatred) will burgeon.
Some people proclaim their ability in a boastful manner. They would say they are learned and well-versed, that they are wealthy, that their relatives hold high positions, that they are academically highly qualified, that they excel others, etc. They might also say that although they now are in low positions, once they were the cream of society. Even some monks say that they are powerful, dignified, have wealthy donors, pass many religious examinations, preach and teach well, can make gold and silver by alchemy, etc. Thus many persons are fond of making ostentatious statements whether true or false; the ignorant may perhaps be taken in by such pretensions whilst the wise will surely not. In both speech and writing, one should abstain from atthukkamsana with sati (mindfulness)
However, there are opportune occasions when you should proclaim your ability and virtue, with a view to gain due respect for the work you are occupied with, for your words and your ideas. Otherwise, people may look down upon you for not grasping the true situation. This is not mana (conceit), but a timely plan that befits the occasion.
Some people heap blames on others when they write criticisms or comments in print-media due to lack of sati ( mindfulness). This is malicious practice because someone is unjustly hurt through it. On the other hand if it is essential to criticise, you should do so and give right information to others. When it is mandatory to expose evil people, blame and criticism are of course necessary. Bad people deserve blame and the public should be told the truth to avoid misunderstanding. But you should blame and criticise cautiously, with supporting proofs and reliable evidences when you pit yourself against a personage, highly regarded by people.
Once a devotee who has donated the monastery, and his wife used to hold the abbot in very high esteem. One day the devotee, by chance, saw the abbot himself frying eggs for an evening meal. So he told his wife the abbot's singular behaviour. But as his wife had great faith in the abbot, she did not believe his words. She thought her husband had lost his mind. She told her neighbours so and jeered at her husband. So her husband had to remain in silence. At bedtime he repeated the news and still his wife would not believe him. So he had to take back his words lest his wife should again proclaim him mad.
A true, factual blame may get bad response from others because of inappropriate time, circumstance, place, etc. Therefore it is important that you launch your blame according to time and circumstance, accompanied by supporting evidence. But it is also important to tell unpleasant truths about really evil persons to your close friends and relatives whether they believe you or not when a timely warning is necessary and blame is justified.
10. Macchariya (Jealousy, Selfishness)
Jealousy or selfishness, an unwholesome metal factor, is called macchariya. Nowadays some persons are reluctant to give to others or to practise dana. This is mistaken to be macchariya. But actually macchariya means wishing other persons to get nothing. Those with macchariya are jealous of others. They do not want to see others acquiring wealth. Stinginess is just attachment to money and property, and is merely lobha (greed). In the case of macchariya it means a jealous outlook, not wanting others having promotion, money, fame, beauty, etc. In the Pitaka mention is made of five kinds of macchariya:
1. Avasa-macchariya: Macchariya concerning houses, dwellings, monasteries, schools, beds, etc. In the case of monks, some do not want visiting monks to reside in the monasteries they came to possess. But preventing bad monks entering their places does not amount to macchariya. The act of selfishly preventing others from getting something is macchariya. Those monks who have avasa-macchariya will be reborn in their very abode as a peta (hungry ghost) or reborn in niraya (hell).
2. Kula-macchariya: Macchariya as regards donors and relatives, etc. Some monks do not want to let their regular donors to support other monks except themselves. But to prevent evil monks making acquaintance with one's friends and relatives is not kula-maccharzya. because evil monks can contaminate their faith and morals. Kula-macchariya, jealousy, burns the viscera when one sees one's relatives in the company of other people, causing internal haemorrhage and diarrhoea. Or such a person will be in impecunious circumstances in the next existence.
3. Labha-macchariya: Macchariya based on material gain. There are people who do not want anyone to prosper except themselves. Such ill will is labha macchariya. But to prevent bad monks from getting requisites which they will put to improper use and to wish good monks to receive them are not labha macchariya. Those who have labha-macchariya will be reborn in filthy hell and will have to eat filth.
4. Vanna-macchariya: Macchariya based on beauty or fame. A person who has this form of jealousy does not want others to be more beautiful or more famous than himself or herself. Such a person becomes an ugly person in forthcoming existences in samsara. He also will be denied of fame.
5. Dhamma-macchariya: Macchariya based on learning, education, or knowledge. Thus a person who will not impart knowledge or information to others is guilty of dhamma-macchariya. Such people fear that others may excel them in learning and refuse to answer questions. They do not teach others willingly. But to deny teaching malicious persons who will misuse knowledge does not amount to dhamma-macchariya because such persons will ruin the Buddha's Teaching. He who feels dhamma-macchariya will be reborn a dumb person or an idiot. After he dies he will suffer in the hell of burning ash.
Points To Be Considered
Regarding the five kinds of macchariya, considerations should be made as to who will be most exposed to these evil attitudes. Most probably monks and nuns who depend on alms for their sustenance are most liable to accommodate these evil traits. In the case of lay people too, macchariya arises when they do not wish others to acquire better house or land, when they wish to be more wealthy and beautiful, to excel others in power, status, knowledge, wisdom, and so forth. Such jealousy is called macchariya. But the sufferer with regard to macchariya is the jealous person and not the victim. Such persons expose themselves as possessing a foul mind. When they die they are reborn as petas (hungry ghosts). Therefore, everyone should totally and completely annihilate macchariya so as not to fall into woeful abodes.
11. Kukkucca (Remorse)
When a bad deed has been done, it is usually followed by kukkucca (remorse). Remorse occurs as a result of bad deeds. It is repentance over wrong things done and right things neglected. So there are two kinds of remorse.
Repentance of Four Rich Youths
There is a well-known phrase Du-Sa-Na-So which are the four syllables uttered by each of the four rich lads. They were very rich young men, yet they did not perform any meritorious deeds; they did only unwholesome deeds. For example, they transgressed moral precepts and engaged in sexual misconduct. As a consequence when they died they fell into Lohakumbhi niraya (hell of hot molten metal) for sixty thousand years. As they floated upwards in the molten metal for a short moment, they tried to speak of their repentance for their wrong deeds. But each one could utter only one syllable because of their great pain. They uttered "Du," "Sa", "Na" and "So" respectively.
What They Wanted to Say Were:
"In my past life I was born of a rich family. But I did not follow the way of merit. Instead, I had engaged in sexual misconduct."
He felt intense remorse for his evil deeds. But he could utter only "Du" and sank to the bottom of the infernal cauldron. This man repented for having not done good deeds.
The other wished to say: "Painful consequences seem to be endless. I had done evil deeds as a human being". But he could not complete his sentence. He uttered only one word "Na". This man repented for having done unwholesome deeds.
The painful consequences of bad deeds do not wait to materialise in the future existences as in the case of the four rich lads who said, "Du", "Sa", Na" and "So". In the present life too the doers of bad deeds will be gnawed away by thoughts of their evil deeds. They will feel as if their bodies are burning to the extent that they perspire profusely.
Don't Leave Room For Remorse
Regrets over past wrong deeds will not expel your worries. Regret or remorse will not deliver you from painful consequences. Such repentance will only serve to develop kukkucca, another form of unwholesome mental state. The correct way to overcome remorse is to avoid doing evil deeds again, to make a firm resolution to refrain from akusala, evil action. If the evil deeds are not too serious, you will escape their evil results by virtue of your restraint, as taught by the Buddha in the Mahavagga Samyutta.
Strive Hard While There Is Ample Time
Everyone has to acquire education, wealth, and merit according to ability and skill. For such acquisition, opportunities and time are available only when one is young. If he has squandered away the good opportunities and time, he will come to wreck and ruin. There is a saying, "Strike while the iron is hot." The country folk say, "Sow the seeds when there is rain". If the rainy season is gone you cannot plough the fields and sow seeds and so you fail to harvest the grains.
Even if you realise too late that you have not done meritorious deeds, you should not lament for it. It is never too late to mend. Belated mindfulness is better than total neglect.
There is the story of an executioner who carried out death penalties during the time of the Buddha. He served the king in this way until old age when he was unable to discharge his duty and resigned from his office. The Venerable Sariputta happened to meet him when he was close to death and preached the Noble Dhamma to him. But the old man could not concentrate on the Dhamma because there was too much a contrast between what unwholesome deeds he did and the Noble Dhamma he was hearing.
Knowing the true situation, the Venerable Sariputta asked, "Did you execute the condemned criminals on your own will or by the orders of the king?" He replied: "I had to carry out the commands of the king. I did not kill them on my own will". Then the Venerable Sariputta said, "If so, is there offence?" and continued his preaching. The old man began to think that he seemed to be free from guilt and his mind became calm. While listening to the Dhamma, he reached the stage of Culasotapanna (a Junior Stream-winner) and he was reborn in the celestial plane (Deva Loka) after his death.
(According to the Dhamma, actually, both he and the king were guilty of these executions even if he was carrying out the orders of the king. But the Venerable Sariputta, in order to calm him and create a clear mind to attend to his teaching, used a good strategy to ask questions that seemed to make him innocent.)
Note: The old executioner, admittedly, had taken many lives. But the Venerable Sariputta had asked helpful questions to extinguish kukkucca (remorse). When remorse disappeared the old man was able to concentrate his mind on the true Dhamma attentively and was reborn in the abode of celestial beings. Taking lessons from this story, people should not regret for the evil deeds they have done and the wholesome deeds they have not done, but try not to let fresh unwholesome kamma to arise, and make effort to perform good deeds from the time they come to know of this fact.
12. Thina (Sloth) and 13. Middha (Torpor)
Thina means sluggishness of mind and body, and middha means torpor or dullness of mind and body. These two mental factors arise together. They deprive one of zeal and vitality, inducing laziness as can be seen in a person about to fall asleep or in one dozing off while listening to a sermon.
But not every sleepiness is thina-middha. Some times, due to overwork and bodily weariness, one becomes sleepy. Even an Arahant may feel sleepy, just as a plant wilts and shrivels under the burning heat of the sun.
Note that only the sluggishness, inertia and torpidity of citta and cetasikas in various activities are described as thina-middha. Nowadays, those who are lazy and unwilling to work are said to be under the influence of thina-middha.
14. Vicikiccha (Doubt, Scepticism)
Vicikiccha is doubt or scepticism on the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Samgha. It is wavering between belief and disbelief. Examples of sceptical doubts are:
1. Is there the Omniscient Buddha?
2. Can one attain Nibbana if one follows the Eightfold Path?
3. Is he a bhikkhu of good conduct? (In spite of seeing a bhikkhu of good conduct.)
4. Can we get any benefits from observing wholesome moral precepts?
5. Do we have past existences? Or are we created in this life by an Eternal God?
6. Are there future lives? Is death the termination of everything?
7. Can one's moral and immoral deeds influence the forthcoming series of khandas? (Doubt about kamma.)
8. Can one enjoy the consequences of good deeds? (Doubt about results of kamma.)
9. Is it true that due to avijja (ignorance) there arise sankharas, volitional actions or mental formations? (Doubt about Paticcasamuppada, the Law of Dependent Origination).
Therefore only scepticism about the Buddha and so on should be understood as vicikiccha.
Doubts Which Are Not Vicikiccha
Doubts in the meaning of words and sentences, or doubts as to which route to follow on a journey, etc., do not constitute vicikiccha. Even Arahants sometimes have doubts on the meaning of Vinaya Rules, whether such an act is in accordance with the Vinaya or not. In this case it is not vicikiccha. It simply is conjecturing or discursive thinking, vitakka. Only scepticism on the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha amounts to vicikiccha.
When scepticism or doubts arise they should be dispelled by asking the learned. Only then can there be complete faith and reverence in the Three Jewels.
This chapter has dealt with the akusala cetasikas. (unwholesome mental factors) that contaminate the mind. The akusala cetasikas are present in the stream of consciousness of everyone. We often hear or see the evil power of greed, hatred, pride, etc. The whole world, due to akusala mental factors, is full of turmoil and atrocities. We even come across such evils ourselves.
By virtue of my efforts to clarify the nature of bad cetasikas that soil the mind, may I be able to lessen the forces of unwholesome mental factors in my own self.
May my associates and acquaintances irrespective of age or status, be able to cultivate good minds! May readers of this book nurture good minds, good attitudes and good thoughts.
Due to my exposition of unwholesome mental factors I hope many people will change their minds (attitudes) from bad to good. May I be able to get rid of all unwholesome mental factors, the evils, the impurities in forthcoming existences. May my acquaintances be able to cultivate good minds and realise Nibbana in the shortest possible time.
Here ends the chapter on Akusala Cetasikas called
Unwholesome Mental Factors
On Kusala Cetasikas, Wholesome Mental Factors
In this chapter kusala cetasikas, wholesome mental factors, will be dealt with. The following mental factors are those that make consciousness wholesome:
1. Saddha faith, confidence,
2. Sati mindfulness, awareness.
3. Hiri moral shame,
4. Ottappa moral fear or dread,
5. Alobha non-greed, generosity,
6. Adosa non-hatred, good will,
7. Amoha non-delusion, wisdom,
8. Metta loving-kindness,
9. Karuna compassion,
10. Mudita sympathetic joy,
11. Upekkha equanimity,
12. Sammavaca right speech,
13. Sammakammanta right action,
14. Samma-ajiva right livelihood.
These fourteen good mental factors enhance the mind to be pure and wholesome.
1. Saddha (Faith)
It you believe what is logical you will develop saddha (faith). It has two characteristics, belief and clarity of mind.
Wrong belief rejects the truth of kamma and its results, the truth of existence of the past and the future lives, the Omniscience of the Buddha, a human personage, who knows all these truths, his Teachings, the Dhamma and his disciples, the Samgha. Such rejections are total disbelief which is different from vicikiccha. the sceptical doubt with partial acceptance.
Here faith ( saddha) means belief in kamma and its results. Saddha is also called "Saddhadhimokkha", decision based on full faith. Thus, only faith in things of real nature is called real saddha, a wholesome mental factor.
Clarity of Mind
The second characteristic of saddha is clarity of mind. While giving alms or observing precepts, or meditating, one's mind becomes filled with faith and clear. Just as a ruby of the Universal Monarch, when put in muddy water, will cause the impurities and sediments to sink and make the water to become crystal clear, so also saddha will eliminate all doubts, scepticism, and other mental defilements and purify the mind. Such is the characteristic of saddha.
Even children and some pet animals, even though they cannot understand the first characteristic of saddha, will perform good deeds in emulation of their elders and teachers. So they will pay homage to the Three Jewels of Buddhism (Ti-ratana), offer alms, and do service to others. While doing such good deeds they enjoy the fruits of the second characteristic, clarity of mind. Even unbelievers sometimes do acts of generosity such as donations to social services like hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged. etc.. and enjoy clarity of mind.
Please study about true saddha in detail in the chapter on carita where saddha-carita is further explained.
True faith consists of purity of mind and belief in the truth of Dhamma. But there are also false beliefs in the world. For example, some unscrupulous persons may proclaim that a Buddha statue or a pagoda is emanating radiance in order to lure people to give donations. People who are made to believe in bogus sacred relics, heretics who believe in their erroneous doctrines, etc., do not have true faith. They are just misled due to their ignorance, stupidity, naivety or simplicity, and this is to be categorised as delusion (moha) which is an unwholesome mental factor (akusala cetasika).
People who have faith in good orators, or in monks and hermits with elegant appearance and pleasant voices who can dispense good magic, charms, or medicines, are not true believers. This is delusion (moha) based on lust and intimacy. Such false faiths are classified in the books as muddhappassana, deluded devotion.
Yo balavatiya saddhaya samannagato avisadanano, so muddhappasanno hoti na avecca pasanno; tatha hi avatthusamin pasidati, seyyathapi titthiya. (Ekanipata Anguttara Tika)
A Note of Warning
Today, the world is abound with liars and swindlers. In some religions new and singular doctrines are affluent; in Buddhism also some impersonators invent novel doctrines, new modes of meditation and mystic medicine to trick ignorant devotees and naive persons. When people give alms and money to such liars, such cheats, their acts stem from lust and delusion, not genuine faith. Because wise persons do not care to go against these tricksters, they become more and more popular day by day.
Nowadays, women often take the leading role in matters relating to charity and religious rituals, without pondering whether this is appropriate or not. One must not believe blindly. Careful reasoning should precede faith and devotion. So everyone should endeavour to better their knowledge in religious affairs, including female devotees.
Confusion Between Faith and Love
Today even virtuous persons confuse faith with love or affection. Many a devotee will revere Dhamma teachers with pleasant voices and personalities who give good instructions. If they respect and honour them only for their good ethical conduct, it is saddha (faith). But if they become attached to such teachers like their own relatives it is mixture of faith and love.
In Gotama Buddha's time, disciples such as the Venerable Vakkali, and Minister Channa not only revered the Buddha but also loved him personally. So although faith was present in their hearts, there also was attachment (samyojana) which is unwholesome.
Some people accept doctrines and instructions through personal attachment; such attachments some times can promote knowledge and wisdom and enhance fulfilment of Paramis (Perfections). If wholesome mental factors are cultivated on account of personal attachments, then it is beneficial.
In the Patthana it is said, "Akusalo dhammo kusalassa dhammassa upanissayapaccayena paccayo. Unwholesome mental states support the wholesome mental states by way of Natural Decisive Support Condition (a particular Patthana condition)."
So even small unwholesome attachments can lead to good states of mind. In this view, teachers and preachers should teach the Dhamma with sincerity and goodwill to promote such developments. And disciples and devotees, on their part, should properly practise what is taught, so as to get beneficial results.
2. Sati (Mindfulness)
Recollecting, remembering or heedfulness are definitive terms for mindfulness which is known as sati in Pali. There are various forms of sati. For example, one recalls the meritorious deeds performed in the past: one listens attentively so that one can remember the Dhamma discourses. While meditating. one concentrates deeply not to lose the object of meditation. Such is the nature of sati.
Sometimes you look forward to meritorious deeds to be done tomorrow or in the future. You take care to observe sila (moral precepts) and not to breach any precepts. You are mindful to restrain the arising of greed, anger, pride and ignorance. You recall the counsels of your teachers. Only such forms of mindfulness concerning wholesome matters are called sati (mindfulness). Such true mindfulness is also called appamada, non-remissness, watchfulness, vigilance. Therefore when a bhikkhu administers precepts to lay devotees, he always reminds them to observe sila diligently with due mindfulness. He reminds them thus at the end of giving precepts: "Appamadena sampadetha =Accomplish the meritorious deeds with non-negligence or diligence." The Buddha also taught thus: "Satin ca khvaham bhikkhave sabbatthikam vadami." "O Bhikkhus, I declare mindful ness to be essential in every act." Though there may be instances of being overfaithful, there can never be over- mindfulness. When the Buddha was about to enter Parinibbana, he said: "Appamadena sampadetha."
Mere Remembrance is not Sati
When a person remembers his relatives, when lovers yearn for one another, when friends remember to keep appointments, when one recalls some precious moments. etc., all such remembrances have the nature of attachment (tanha). When one remembers to take revenge for injuries done to one, when one keeps in mind atrocious plans, when one pays heed to possible dangers that may befall en route to a destination; such cases reveal hatred (dosa) as the base. Any form of the aforesaid mental factors, being accompanied by attachment or hatred, cannot be classified as true mindfulness (sati).
The above are the examples of "sanna", memory, minding or vitakka (purposeful thinking); they are not to be mistaken for sati. The natures of sanna and vitakka will be explained in the chapters to come.
3. Hiri (Moral Shame) and Ottappa (Moral Fear)
To feel ashamed to do evil is hiri; dread or fear to do evil is ottappa. Hiri is evident in those who value their honour and dignity. Ottappa is evident in those who respect their parents, teachers, friends and relatives.
Further clarification is as follows:
When one reasons; "I belong to a good family. So, I should not indulge in unwholesome deeds, nor earn my living as a fisherman or as a hunter." Thus he feels ashamed to resort to indecent livelihood and maintains the honour of his family or clan.
The educated will reason thus: We are learned persons; we should feel ashamed of unwholesome acts of doing bad deeds. We must refrain from killing, stealing. etc."
The aged will reason thus; "We are old, and ought to be mature and wise. If we commit evil we will come into shameful situations."
These three instances show the dominance of hiri, a wholesome mental factor, in those who value their honour and dignity.
Those who are considerate of others will reason: "If I do evil, my parents, friends, relatives, and teachers will be blamed because of me. Therefore I will not do any evil. I will avoid misdeeds." This is a fine example of ottappa. So a person acquires hiri and ottappa by means of sympathetic considerations for others and by upholding the honour and dignity of his close acquaintances. But if you have no sympathetic consideration for your family, teachers, etc., you lack both hiri and ottappa and you will do many evil deeds in your life.
Hiri and ottappa protect you from immorality putting restraints on sons from misconduct with mothers as well as on brothers from committing sin with sisters. They are regarded, therefore, as two great guardians of the world - Lokapala Dhamma, protecting you from immorality. So they are pure and wholesome ideals, known also as "Sukka Dhamma". These two Dhammas keep human beings in moral discipline and moral restraint that distinguish them from animals.
Without hiri and ottappa, mankind will sink into evil depths. and be reduced to the state of animals. Today many people are void of moral shame and moral dread so that they dress, eat and behave indecently. If this moral decay continues to proliferate, the world will soon end in complete ruin. For mankind will then turn into animals.
False Hiri and Ottappa
Although moral shame and moral fear are wholesome mental factors (kusala cetasika) there also are false ones. Shame or fear to do evil deeds, abstinence from evil actions (duccarita) are due to true hiri and true ottappa. Shame and dread to keep Uposatha observance, to visit pagodas and monasteries, to listen to Dhamma talks, to speak in public, to do manual labour (not being ashamed of being unemployed and starving to death), or boy meeting girl, etc., are false hiri and ottappa. In fact they are pretensions and vain pride. According to Abhidhamma they all are collectively taken as a form of "tanha".
Four Cases Where Shame Should be Discarded
In the books mention is made of four cases where one should discard shame: (1) in trade and commerce; (2) in learning under a competent teacher; (3) in partaking of food, and (4) in making love.
These cases are mentioned to emphasise the point that one should be bold doing something of benefit. No commitment is made on whether they are moral or immoral.
Other instances of hiri and ottappa are fear of courts and judges, reluctance to visit the lavatory while travelling, fear of dogs, fear of ghosts, fear of unknown places, fear of opposite sex, fear of elders and parents, fear of speaking in the presence of elders, etc. These are not genuine fear or shame. Indeed they are mere lack of nerve or confidence, a collection of unwholesome (akusala) states propelled by domanassa.
The Middle Way
The above explanation will clarify the fact that only genuine shame and fear are to be cultivated. There should neither be shame nor fear doing deeds that are not unwholesome. But this does not mean one must be reckless and bold in every case. Recklessness leads to disrespect for elders, anger, hatred and conceit. While moral courage and fearlessness are to be praised, recklessness and disrespect are to be blamed.
Fruitless boldness, disrespect and vain courage are undesirable; one should be bold and fearless only in doing good deeds. Excess of shame and fear are equally undesirable. There is a middle path for all to follow. One is not to be fearless in circumstances that one should have fear; and one should fear evil deeds.
The Buddha said "Most people fear what should not be feared and become fearless of what should be feared". Abhayitabbe bhayanti, bhayitabbe na bhayare.
5. Alobha (Non-greed)
Not wanting is alobha. It is non-attachment to things, and is the opposite of greed, or wanting something; lobha and alobha are just like fire and water. Whereas lobha wants things, alobha does not want anything at all because its nature is non-greed, generosity, charity. In daily life too we may notice the contrasting behaviour of a greedy man and a contented man.
A Greedy Bhikkhu
A greedy monk is always after alms and offerings. Therefore he preaches persuasive sermons for the sake of getting offerings. When he gets some, he is very much attached to them and does not think of giving them away in charity. He even becomes conceited and thinks highly of his gains. But he does not know that he is degrading himself by having to be nice and polite to potential donors.
A Greedy Man
A greedy man is not much different from a greedy monk. He seeks wealth by hook or by crook because his mind is overcome by greed. He is not satisfied with whatever he has gained. Being greedy, he is always after amassing more and more wealth. He would say: "This is mine, that is mine. I own this and I own that. This is my property." When he dies, he will be reborn in the realm of miserable ghosts (petas). His greed will push him down to apayas, the woeful planes. Such are the evils of greed.
A Greedless Bhikkhu
A greedless bhikkhu will have no attachment to material gains. When he gets offerings he will not feel proud as he well understands that alms and offerings come from the goodwill of donors and well-wishers. Let alone a bhikkhu who is the disciple of the Buddha, even a lay person will be ashamed of clinging to alms and offerings. A virtuous person is never greedy; instead he is generous and charitable. Likewise, a greedless bhikkhu places no importance in material wealth.
A Greedless Man
Among the lay people a greedless one earns his living by fair and just means only. He practises right livelihood. He avoids sensual pleasures as much as possible. He has pity for the poor and is generous to them. In alms-giving he is never hesitant. Such goodwill is called muttacagi in Pali which means giving freely and without reluctance. Such virtuous persons can even renounce crown, wealth and power and become a religious recluse with a contented mind dwelling in a sylvan hut.
Therefore you will see the difference between the greedy and greedless like two men running back to back in opposite directions Those who believe themselves to be Bodhisattas or righteous persons with Paramis should first analyse their mind thus, "Am I greedy or greedless?" If they are greedy they should reform their minds right in the present existence. If one can assess oneself as greedless one should still do more good deeds because one now has excellent foundation. So all persons should cultivate sati (mindfulness) in order to become greedless generous people.
6. Adosa (Non-anger, Loving kindness, Forgiveness, Harmlessness)
Adosa is non-ferocity or non-savageness. It is the direct opposite of dosa just as snakes are of geckos. Those who are with adosa are polite as much as those who are with dosa are ferocious. They can pacify themselves even when other people talk to them with dosa because their minds are peaceful. Not only are they peaceful in mind, their facial expression also is pleasant and beautiful like the silvery moon whereas that of those who are with dosa is stem. Moreover, they look glorious for their pleasant speech and nobody who ever meets them can hate them. Thus the innate nature of being with adosa is full of benefits. In fact adosa is synonymous with metta (loving-kindness), which is welcome every where in the world.
[The nature of metta wilt be dealt with soon.]
The Bodhisatta's Alobha and Adosa
Once the Bodhisatta was a son of King Brahmadata of Baranasi. When the chief queen died, the king promoted a young, beautiful queen to the title. Crown Prince Mahapaduma, the Bodhisatta, took responsibility of the capital city when the king marched out to suppress a rebellion. When his father the king was about to arrive back at the palace, the Crown Prince had an audience with the young chief queen for the purpose of announcing the monarch's return. At this time she was alone and she, out of lust, tried to seduce the prince three times. But the Bodhisatta by refusing to give in to her enticements embarrassed the queen and made her very furious. So she, in revenge, fabricated an accusation that the Crown Prince Mahapaduma tried to molest her. The king believed her false accusation.
In fact, the queen employed all her wiles (pariyaya and maya) to bring Paduma to ruin.
The thoughtless king immediately sentenced his son to death. Since the prince was popular with the people, he feared that they would take him away. So the king himself led the procession of executioners to the top of the mountain from where he pushed down his son. However, due to the power of metta of the prince, he was rescued by the guardian spirit of the mountain.
Comments on the Jataka
In the first part of the Jataka, when the young chief queen met Prince Paduma, she was overcome with lust (tanha). But the Prince cultivated alobha, the opposite of greed and lust. Later on, the young chief queen. in order to cover up her wickedness, made up stories against the prince. This was the application of maya combined with musavada, falsehood. Then the king was overwhelmed by anger from the time he heard the fabricated story of molestation till the time he sentenced his own son to death. The character of Prince Paduma reveals the characteristics of non-greed (alobha), non- grudge, patience and loving-kindness. In this Jataka, the prince was Bodhisatta, the young chief queen was Cincamanavika-to-be, and the king was Devadatta-to-be.
Action and Reaction
After he was pushed down from the top of the mountain, the prince was conveyed by the serpent king to his kingdom where he stayed for a year. Then he returned to the human world where he lived the life of a recluse. After some years, a hunter saw him and reported the matter to the king. The king, his father, came to him and asked him to return to the palace but Prince Paduma refined and remained a hermit. The king now learnt the truth and flung down his young chief queen from the top of the mountain. She suffered greatly for her evil deeds before she died.
7. Amoha=Panna (Non-delusion, Wisdom)
Amoha means intelligence, knowledge, wisdom. This mental factor enables one to dispel the darkness of ignorance and delusion which conceals the truth. Moha (delusion) and amoha (knowledge) are two extreme opposites.
The Wisdom (Panna)
Wisdom is of two categories, real and unreal. True wisdom is knowing and understanding the action (kamma) and results thereof (vipaka); knowing and understanding the scriptures and the Dhamma; knowledge of insight (Vipassana-nana)', knowledge of the Path (Magga-nana)', knowledge of Fruition (Phala-nana), and the Buddha's Omniscience. All these forms of faultless knowledge are called wisdom (panna).
Some so-called 'clever' persons are well versed in oration, persuasion, lying, swindling and pretensions. Such kinds of cleverness are not true wisdom. They are fake knowledge or vancana-panna, false wisdom, meaning knowledge of deceiving others. They are in ultimate reality unwholesome mental states dominated by attachment (tanha). Some people excel in warfare or in making and using sophisticated weapons. Such knowledge is nothing but an unwholesome good thinking which is vitakka.
It should be noted, however, that false wisdom cannot be found in the stupid, the dull and the low IQ persons; it can be found only in highly intelligent or educated persons. That is to say, the true wisdom is a condition for false wisdom by way of Natural Decisive Support Condition (Pakatupanissaya Paccaya) taught in the Law of Patthana Conditions. Accordingly intelligent persons may follow the right path and attain the highest positions in doing kusala, moral deeds, just as they may excel in doing evil and cause harm to the greatest extent possible.
Inherent Wisdom and Acquired Wisdom
Real wisdom may be divided into
(1) Jati-panna and
Those who are born with alobha, adosa, and amoha are called Tihetuka puggalas (three-rooted persons). Since their birth they are blessed with three good roots. So their amoha (wisdom or non-delusion) starts with their birth. Therefore they learn and understand quickly and are able to think profoundly even at a young age. Such wisdom is jati-panna.
Pavatti-panna means the intelligence and wisdom acquired at a later age through training and learning. They ask questions, attend lectures and try their best to accumulate knowledge. This acquired wisdom at a later time is called pavatti-panna. He who lacks jati-panna can develop pavatti-panna by learning diligently under a competent teacher. Those who are endowed with jati-panna at birth and amass pavatti-panna later will crown their lives with all-round success.
How to Cultivate Jati-panna
Wisdom gained at birth not only brings worldly success and benefits but also produces good results in meditation or Dhamma practice. Only persons with jati-panna can win Enlightenment or Magga- and Phala-nanas. Therefore a person should cultivate jati-panna right now for future existences. To do so, one must first cultivate a strong will to acquire wisdom in this existence.
Inspire your mind to acquire intelligence and knowledge. After getting this noble inspiration, you must read good books, and discuss with learned teachers and wise sages. Seek advice from them. Such efforts will augment ample pavatti-panna and make you a rational and comprehensive person and sow the seeds of wisdom for future lives in samsara. However, you must not rest content with your present achievements.
In order to gain knowledge and wisdom you must be habitually neat and clean in dress and manner. Whenever you perform dana (giving), or other meritorious deeds, you must make a noble wish and say "May I gain intelligence and wisdom due to these deeds." When you make offerings to the bhikkhus, you must propagate goodwill thus: "May the bhikkhus be able to teach and learn the noble Dhamma everyday and be crowned with wisdom". If possible you should build and establish monasteries where monks can learn the Dhamma, and revere and support able teachers who would promote the teachings of the Buddha.
You should, if possible, give aid to schools, colleges and such institutions, with a view to support the education of the country. You must always be willing to impart what you have learnt. Propelled by such efforts, you will be a wise sage while you roam about in samsara, the cycle of rebirths. These are a few guidelines on how to be blessed with jati-panna in the existences to come.
The Difference Between Saddha (Faith) and Panna (Wisdom)
The nature of faith (saddha) is to be content with just giving and practising charity with a view to be blissful in the samsara. Such a devotion seldom contains inspiring thoughts for the advancement of one's country, race and religion. Panna (wisdom) develops good deeds with serious thoughts for one's country, race and religion and does not put in the fore the welfare of one's own future existences, knowing full well that good deeds will produce good results. Thus wisdom and faith are fundamentally different.
One's own country of Myanmar can be viewed through the eye of faith or through the eye of wisdom or both. If either faith or wisdom goes to the extreme, one's views and judgements will be biased. It is imperative that one must have a balanced attitude that synthesises wisdom and faith to the best results. There is a saying, "Faith in excess becomes tanha (lust), while wisdom in excess ends in maya (deception)."
Note: In this book I have not attempt to elaborate on the balanced approach because a separate treatise will be needed to cover this topic.
O citizens! Whether knowledge is real or unreal, the importance lies in the nature of one's mind. Just as the heart is vital for living organisms, a good attitude is always of paramount importance here and hereafter.
Wisdom determines the prosperity of the present as well as the future existences. Only the wise can understand fully the benefits of dana (charity), sila (morality) and other Paramis (Perfections). Only through wisdom can one fulfil the Paramis.
In worldly affairs, happiness of family life solely depends upon the wisdom of the man and wife. In family management and prosperity also, wisdom leads to diligence and hence to desired goals. In public congregations, only the wise will be held in high esteem. Those who are unwise and uneducated, will not rise to top place in society even if they are immensely wealthy.
Knowledge is the dominant force in the modern world. The rich accumulate wealth because of the know-how of the intellectuals and technologists with whom they work in collaboration. From the smallest conflict to global wars, victory is always on the side of the intelligent, the technically advanced, In the Catudhamma Jataka the Bodhisatta monkey emerged victorious over a huge crocodile in its own territory, the river, by means of a clever tactic. (Although this tactic cannot be said as true wisdom, it proved that wisdom can bring forth victory in worldly affairs; this is the moral of this Jataka.}
In the Mahosadha Jataka the Bodhisatta's country was attacked by a mighty army led by King Culani and his Minister, Kevatta. By means of his intelligence and tact, Mahosadha repelled the mighty foes who finally fled in disarray.
In the past, Myanmar was left behind in science and technology. So she fell to the imperialists who finally occupied Myanmar for over 100 years. Myanmar, being rich in natural resources, had been a fat target of many aliens some of whom are today making good use of their superior technology to exploit our wealth of oil, minerals and forests.
Even up to present time some foreign merchant and traders, through perseverance and diligence, are doing very well in Myanmar. We are the victims of foreign aggressions because we cannot respond to the pressing demands of time. We lack industry and vigilance. In fact we are still "slumbering and snoring like an acolyte under a banyan tree with his basket beside him".
O Citizens! A nation with an inferior technology and know-how will spiral down in status in the family of nations. Patriotic teachers and educators should guide the people on to the right path. Students should seek knowledge earnestly. The virtuous wealthy and the bhikkhus should contribute to the betterment of education and intelligence. Only with such endeavours on a national scale will we be able to 'recuperate' (nurture a new breed of intellectuals and intelligentsia) in this life, and become wise sages (possessors of jati-panna) in the lives to come.