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The Path to Nibbana (Bangladesh)

Friday, November 9, 2012

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Sila, Samadhi and Panna

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Dear most venerable, ………, president of the organization and all the other executives, brothers and sisters who are present here and who are listening to this, first of all Thank you for giving me a chance to talk in the this Katina Festival …………… today, as you are well aware of liberating oneself, I would love to talk about four major Buddhist Philosophies of all times Known as Sila (Morality), Samadhi (Concentration) and Pa––a (Wisdom). 
Morality (Sila)
Morality is simply known as the Precepts but in reality it is more than just precepts. Without killing or even causing injury to any living creature, we should be kind and compassionate towards all, even to the tiniest creature that crawls at our feet. Refraining from stealing, we should be upright and honest in all our dealings. Abstaining from sexual misconduct which debases the exalted nature of man, we should be pure. Shunning false speech, we should be truthful. Avoiding pernicious drinks that promote heedlessness, we should be sober and diligent.

These elementary principles of regulated behavior are essential to one who treads the path to liberation or Nibbana. Violation of them means the introduction of obstacles on the path of liberation which will obstruct our moral progress. Observance of them means steady and smooth progress along the path.  While we progresses slowly and steadily with regulated word and deed and restrained senses, the Kammic force of this striving aspirant may compel him to renounce worldly pleasures and adopt the ascetic life.
It should not be understood that everyone is expected to lead the life of a Bhikkhu or a celibate life to achieve one's goal. One's spiritual progress is expedited by being a Bhikkhu although as a lay follower one can become an Arahat and after attaining the third state of Sainthood, one leads a life of celibacy. Securing a firm footing on the ground of morality, the progressing pilgrim then embarks upon the higher practice of Samadhi, the control and culture of the mind.

 Samadhi (Concentration)
Samadhi is the "one-pointed-ness of the mind." It is the concentration of the mind on one object to the entire exclusion of all irrelevant matter. There are different subjects for meditation according to the temperaments of the individuals. Concentration on respiration is the easiest to gain the one-pointedness of the mind. Meditation on loving-kindness is very beneficial as it is conducive to mental peace and happiness. Cultivation of the four sublime states: loving-kindness (Metta), compassion (Karuna), sympathetic joy (Mudita), and equanimity (Upekkha) are highly commendable.
After giving careful consideration to the subject for contemplation, we should choose the one most suited to our temperament. This being satisfactorily settled, we makes a persistent effort to focus our mind until we becomes so wholly absorbed and interested in it, that all other thoughts get ipso facto excluded from the mind. The five hindrances to progress -- namely, sense-desire, hatred, sloth and torpor, restlessness and brooding and doubts are then temporarily inhibited. Eventually he gains ecstatic concentration and, to his indescribable joy, becomes enwrapped in Jhana, enjoying the calmness and serenity of a one-pointed mind.
When one of us gains this perfect one-pointedness of the mind it is possible for one to develop the five Supernormal Powers (Abhinna): Divine Eye (Dibbacakkhu), Divine Ear (Dibhasota), Reminiscence of past births (Pubbenivasanussati-nana). Thought Reading (Paracitta vijanana) and different Psychic Powers (Iddhividha). Though the mind is now purified there still lies dormant in him the tendency to give vent to his passions, for by concentration, passions are lulled to sleep temporarily. They may rise to the surface at unexpected moments.
  
Wisdom (Panna)
Both Discipline and Concentration are helpful to clear the Path of its obstacles but it is Insight (Vipassana Panna) alone which enables one to see things as they truly are, and consequently reach the ultimate goal by completely annihilating the passions inhibited by Samadhi. That is Wisdom or Pa––a in Pali.
With his one-pointed mind which now resembles a polished mirror he looks at the world to get a correct view of life. Wherever he turns his eyes he sees naught but the Three Characteristics -- Anicca (transiency), Dukkha (sorrow) and Anatta (soul-lessness) standing out in bold relief. He comprehends that life is constantly changing and all conditioned things are transient. Neither in heaven nor on earth does he find any genuine happiness, for every form of pleasure is a prelude to pain. What is transient is therefore painful, and where change and sorrow prevail there cannot be a permanent immortal soul.
 Whereupon, of these three characteristics, we choose one that appeals to us most and intently keeps on developing Insight in that particular direction until that glorious day comes to us when we would realize Nibbana for the first time in our life, having destroyed the three Fetters -- self-illusion (Sakkaya-ditthi), doubts (Vicikiccha), indulgence in (wrongful) rites and ceremonies (Silabbataparamasa).
Now the saintly pilgrim, encouraged by the unprecedented success of our endeavors, makes our final advance and, destroying the remaining Fetters namely: lust after life in Realms of Forms (Ruparaga) and Formless Realms (Aruparaga), conceit (Mana), restlessness (Uddhacca), and ignorance (Avijja) we become perfect Saint: an Arahant, a Worthy One.
Instantly we realizes that what was to be accomplished has been done, that a heavy burden of sorrow has been relinquished, that all forms of attachment have been totally annihilated, and that the Path to Nibbana has been trodden. The Worthy One now stands on heights more than celestial, far removed from the rebellious passions and defilements of the world, realizing the unutterable bliss of Nibbana. 

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