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Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya
There are two kinds of meditation (bhavana) namely, the one that leads to full concentration, stillness, peace and ease of mind, and the other that leads to Realization or Enlightenment and thereby to perfect Freedom of mind. Out of these two, the one that leads to full concentration consists of forty methods that lead to higher stages of concentration. Out of these forty methods, I shall deal here with the method of concentration on one’s breath. A person who expects to achieve success in his spiritual development must, first of all, be of morally good character. At least he must develop the five precepts (panca-sila):
Development of Divine States
I have prepared this essay explaining how to develop divine states within one’s heart, at the request of some friends who have devoted themselves to the practice of meditation (bhavana). There are many methods of practice of Bhavana suiting different temperaments of beings. Out of them the development of the four divine states of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), gladness and sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) is very important and most useful both to those who have renounced the world as well as to those who live a family life in the world.
In the conventional mode of speech (or in the current usage) we make statements such as ‘sun rises, sun sets’ and the like. But actually there is no such thing as sun-rise or sun-set. Suppose a teacher explains these phenomena to his students in the classroom. He would explain to them how the earth rotates on its own axis and how consequently the phenomena such as sunrise and sunset come to pass. But the very same teacher, at other times use such expressions as sunrise and sunset. He makes such statements not to mislead his hearers but just to follow the convention. This makes it clear that there are two modes of speech in the world, namely the usage or expression according to how a thing appears, and that according to what really is. The former is called the conventional truth and the latter the scientific truth.
In Savatthi there was a king who spent his time mostly in merriment. One day he asked one of his officials to gather together the born-blind men in his country as many as he could and take them to the yard before the palace. He went about the country and after some days led a number of blind men to the palace garden. Then the king asked him to take them to the royal elephant and make them touch it and take them back to the king. The official took them to the elephant and made them touch each part of the elephant’s body and took them back to the king.
Defilements of Man
There are three stages of defilements of mind. By defilements we mean the unwholesome states of mind such as lust, anger and so on. We know from our experience that we feel that those defilements are not always manifest in our heart. But there is potentiality that they may rise up within us at times. This state of their potentiality is called the dormant stage of defilements. Suppose a man comes to your presence and starts abusing you calling names. Certainly you might get shocked and angry, though you do not say or do nothing to him. Though you keep silent, there might be anger risen within you. This is the second stage, the stage of uprisen defilements. At times, on such an occasion, you might grow so rough that you could not control your anger and you would translate it into action by scolding him or by beating him. This is the third and worst stage of defilements, at which your anger is put to action. It is when the mental defilements surge up to this third stage that man would c
Two Modes of Speech
In ordinary speech, we make statements such as “sunset”, “sunrise” and the like. But actually there is no such thing as the setting or rising of the sun. The so-called sunrise and sunset are but phenomena brought about by the rotation of the earth on its axis. We make such statements not to mislead our hearers but to follow and comply with the usage accepted by the people. Suppose a teacher explains the very same phenomena to his students in his classroom. There he may explain to them how the earth rotates on its own axis, how consequently the phenomena such as night, noon, sunset, sunrise, etc. come to pass. Yet the very same teacher at other times seems to use such expressions as sunset and the like.
The Buddhist Way To World Peace
The world of today seems to have been plunged into hatred, malice and mutual distrust, as if it were preparing for a Third World War. The tensions of the cold war are around us. There is always the possibility for a world war to break out, followed by the destruction of not less than three-fourth of mankind. The clouds of bloody revolution are lurking heavy on us and we are about to face a very critical situation. We, who feel that we may have to face such a crisis before long, should consider whether we should passively suffer such a crisis as if we were condemned animals. We must not be despondent, and we must be hopeful, for there is a remedy, a way we should follow to escape from the awaiting doom and destruction. As a doctor diagnoses an ailment, we have to determine the nature of such a disaster from observation of the symptoms and then we will be able to find out the cause of such a ruin that awaits us. When the cause is removed, there is escape and peace. Man is th
(A talk given at the Annual Conference of the British Buddhist Society held at Summer School, London on the 1st September 1973) Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Nibanna is a Pali word for which the Sanaskrit equivalent is Nirvana. Both these words mean cool, peace, calm, serenity, bliss, supreme happiness, emancipation, passionlessness and the Summum Bonum. Now I am going to set before you how Nibanna is explained in Theravada literature. The term Nibanna and its equivalents Nibbuti and Vimutti are used in various Suttas to express several experiences of mind.
What did the Lord Buddha teach?
The only person who could answer the question “What did the Lord Buddha teach?” was nobody else but the Buddha himself. Let us see what his answer would be. One day when the Lord Buddha was staying in the Simsapa forest near Madhura, he picked up a few leaves, and holding them up in his hand, he asked his disciples, “What, bretheren, are more numerous, either the leaves in my hand or those in this vast forest?” They said, “Lord, what you hold in your hand are but few leaves. But a the leaves in this vast forest are uncountably more numerous”. Then the Lord Buddha rejoined, “In exactly the same way, bretheren, what I teach you ever, now as before, are but very few things out of what I know, and what I teach you are the Dukkha and the cessation of Dukkha.
Taking of Refuge in Practice
People of a certain village were suffering from various kinds of chronic diseases. Though they sought treatments from some so-called physicians they could not get perfectly cured. Some of them got only a temporary relief. Meanwhile they saw a stranger come into the village. Very few of them understood from this physique that he was perfect in health. Of course, he was one of perfect health, a physician and a specialist of rare type. Some underwent his course of treatment and were perfectly cured. They, too, learned from him his medical system and assisted him in his treating the sick. After some years’ service the teacher-physician turned over his service to his pupils and left the village his pupil-physicians who had got perfectly cured had carried on the service of treating the sick very successfully for some time.
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