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A Discourse on MALUKYAPUTTA SUTTA
Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw
Buddha posed the next question for Malukyaputta to answer.
"Ye te jivhavinneyya rasa asayita, asayitapubba, na ca sayasi, na ca te hoti sayeyyanti, atthi te tattha chando va rago va pemam va."
"How do you answer this, Malukyaputta? Answer me as best you can. There are certain gustatory objects which you have never tasted previously, either in the immediate or remote past, or even at the present moment. Neither can you hope to taste them in the future. Can such objects arouse desire, lust and affection in you?"
Here let me make a passing reference to human weakness for pleasures derived from the sense of taste. Those who have never tasted fruits and cakes imported from other countries have no desire to eat them since they do not have the experience of enjoying them. But people who know how tasteful they are develop a craving for them. In the scriptures there are many instances of people giving up their lives just to satisfy their palate. Defilements can be dispelled if one meditates on eating or tasting, noting the instant when taste just occurs.
FAILURE TO MEDITATE ON RASA ON TASTING
13. Rasam bhotva sati muttha, Piyam nimittam manasi karoto. Sarattacitto vedeti, tanca ajjhosa titthati.
13. Having tasted rasa, flavour, one loses mindfulness, and getting absorbed in the charms created by it, one feels the onset of desire that tries to imbibe it.
Few ever meditate on eating and taste. Ordinary laymen are not aware of this practice of meditation. Even learned persons do not pay heed to it with the assumption that as one gets the taste of food as it is taken, there is no need to note it with mindfulness. This amounts to being irreverential to the teachings of insight-meditation. Others go so far as to say that meditating on taste is a sheer waste of time. Eating, they say, should be done quickly so that more time can be devoted to meditation.
A majority of the meditating yogis also are guilty of this unmindfulness. Once they fail to note the sense of taste as they take food, they lose mindfulness and become attached to it. And that means they cherish the desire to enjoy pleasure out of eating.
All eatables, therefore, are prepared and cooked so that they are delicious to the taste. When laymen offer food to the monks they take especial care to make it appealing to the palate. This shows how much we give importance to the development of gustatory consciousness. I remember the observation made by the Sayadaw of Taungwaing Galay Taik Kyaung of Moulmein. Once he preached one of his devotees who offered food to him that it was usual for monks to partake of food offered to them with a sense of mindfulness which negates taste, as if what is delectable is repugnant. This drew a protest from the devotee who said, "Reverend Sir! It is most improper that you should view tasteful objects that I have prepared for your enjoyment as repugnant." It is quite logical for him to say so, because food for the monks is usually prepared by donors so that recipients could eat them with relish. Here the preparation of food to appeal to the sense of taste of those who are going to eat it is the responsibility of the //dayaka//, the donor. For us monks we abide by the principle to regard what is tasteful as repugnant so that defilements cannot take their hold on us.
Priestly conduct, therefore, requires that when monks eat they eat with introspection in accordance with the principles of //paccavekkhana//, self-examination. Unlike laymen monks take food not for enjoyment, not for indulgence, not for physical development, and not for opulence, but for maintenance of the body, for supporting life, for quenching hunger and thirst and for pursuance of the practice of purity of mind. If one can practise //kammatthana// which prescribes concentration on the perception of the impurity of material food, //ahare patikulasanna//, it is all the more to be commended. Regarding this please see Visuddhi Magga. But for our purpose the best would be to go according to Satipatthana Sutta.
14. Tassa vaddhunti vedana, aneka rasasambhava; Abhijjha ca vihesa ca, cittamassupahannati. Evam acinato dukkham, ara Nibbana vuccati.
14. A multitude of passions such as covetousness and rage, springing from //rasa//, taste, torments him who takes a firm hold of it, with the consequence that his mind becomes burdened with vexation. Nibbana, therefore, remains far away from him who would carry the load of suffering rather than meditate.
No elaboration is needed beyond the fact that smell here is substituted by taste.
There are three basic necessities in life - food, clothing and shelter. The whole world is teemed with hungry millions. The search for food is a great burden for them. People go hell for leather to get it. In the struggle for a living one tries to grab what one wants by all manner of means, fair or foul and one's anger is aroused when one encounters competitions or opposition from one's rivals. The result is a troubled mind for everyone. All these stem from the development of desire and attachment on the occasion of failure to meditate, in this case, on taste. When one is overpowered by defilements, one becomes tormented by kamma-actions and action-results that bring about the round of sufferings.
Most people do not care to meditate on food or on eating. It is almost a habit with them to keep food out of his meditating mind. This habit usually hardens. In that case they would be accumulating suffering which burns continually like fire for times to come.
MEDITATING ON RASA BRINGS NIBBANA NEAR
15. Na so rajjati rasesu, rasam bhotva patissato; Virattacitto vedeti, tanca najjhosa titthati.
15. Passion remains undeveloped in him who recollects with mindfulness the //rasa//, taste, that he has savoured. Thus freed from lust, he refuses to imbibe it.
This is a clear instruction to the yogi to apply insight-meditation to the phenomenon of tongue-consciousness as soon as food has been tasted. It does not say that taste that one has never experienced should be noted with mindfulness. I shall give you an example as to how to meditate on it.
When a monk sits before the table and sees the eatables laid on it, he notes the phenomenon of seeing. As he raises his hand to pick up food, he notes his raising of the hand. As he takes a morsel of food in his hand, he notes that he is taking it. As it is brought towards his mouth, he notes that he is bringing it. As it touches his mouth, he notes the touching. As he opens his mouth, puts the food in it, closes it, brings his hand down, touches the plate with his hands, and in the meanwhile, masticates the food, he notes each of all these proceedings. As his hands move and as he masticates food, he is conscious of the fact that //vayo//, element of motion, is operating. As his hands touch the hot food, he is aware of the working of //tejo//, element of heat. When he feels sweet or sour on the tongue, he notes the qualities of taste. As he is thus noting all the phenomena connected with eating or tasting, he dispels desire, and eventually, lust or //raga//.
When his concentration gets strengthened, he knows taste only as taste and nothing more. It does not occur to him that a particular dish of chicken curry is delicious. It means that he has abandoned the pleasurable tongue-object; and in this manner he does away with defilements.
The experience of the yogis in this Thathana Yeiktha can bear it out. When a meditator eats, he becomes conscious of the fragrant smell and sweet taste that the food generates. But as soon as he feels that he has come to know of this phenomena, the smell, the taste, the nose and tongue-consciousness and the //citta//, mind that notes the consciousness, dissolve away. Under such circumstances //raga// has no opportunity to assert itself, for the yogi has cognized taste just as taste and nothing more. Some of the yogis used to say that as they had been noting the phenomena of tasting, they even failed to recognize the kind of flavour that the food gave. This is quite possible. For, in the absence of such defilements as desire and attachment, no pleasure can be derived out of the food that is taken. Where there is no attachment, one does not take a firm hold of //vedana//, feeling, as if one is going to devour it.
16. Yathassa sayato rasam, sevato capi vedanam; Khiyati nopaciyati, evam so caratissato. Evam apacinato dukkham, santike nibbana vuccati.
16. Tasting a tongue-object, a yogi just gets the taste, and just feels that he gets it without assimilating it. With him suffering ceases. He should practise meditation in this way; and if he so practises it, he is said to be within sight of Nibbana.
A meditating yogi eats and feels the taste of food like any other individual; but as he denies himself the wherewithal to enjoy that taste, he does not commit either wholesome or unwholesome deeds in relation to taste. It means that taste here cannot bring about formation of Kamma-actions and action-results. Without them no new becoming can arise. And that will be the end of the round of sufferings.
Paticcasamuppada says: //Vedana paccaya tanha// (Feeling begets craving). But as no craving arises when feeling has subsided, //upadana//, clinging, remains unformed. Hence defilements, kamma-actions and action-results become inoperative.
As such causes of suffering are eliminated, a yogi, steadfast in the practice of insight meditation, attains to the stage of //tadanga Nibbana// when peace is established for the duration of that elimination. This can eventually lead to the fulfilment of the Noble Path and its Fruition.
REALIZATION OF THE DHAMMA
Many examples are cited in the Commentaries regarding the attainment of Nibbana as one meditates on the phenomenon of eating. In Sri Lanka of the olden days, there were built many rest houses where monks on their daily rounds for alms could stop awhile to eat. It was usual for them to have their early morning gruel there, and set out for alms-food in the day, coming back again to the same place to have their full meal. Most of them practised insight-meditation while eating and became Arahats. In those days this was the general rule rather than the exception.
In the Commentaries on Puggalapannatti, the following occurs:
"Making strenuous efforts in insight-meditation with the strength of implicit faith in it, an individual can realize the knowledge of the Path and its Fruition while walking, standing, sitting, lying down, or taking light food or heavy meals. No instances exist where he fails to attain wisdom when he so practises it."
I would like to urge you to note in detail the entire process of eating while you eat. If you are having your meals alone, this can be easily done. For each mouthful of food that you take, you may have about sixty incidents worth noting, and if you go on noting them, it may take you about an hour to finish your meals. But when you happen to eat along with others, this may not be possible; but I urge you to try.
* * *
The fifth question put to Malukyaputta is as follows.
"Ye te kayavinneyya photthabba asamphuttha asamphutthapubba, na ca phusasi, na ca te hoti phuseyyanti, atthi te tattha chando va rago va pemam va."
"How do you answer this, Malukyaputta? Answer me as best you can. There are certain tangible objects which you have never touched previously, either in the immediate or remote past, or at the present moment. Neither can you hope to touch them in the future. Can such objects arouse desire, lust and affection in you?"
Malukyaputta replied this in the negative. This is as it should be. Here it may again be emphasised that no //kilesa// can arise for sense-objects with which one is not familiar. Indigenous peoples develop no taste for foreign-made dresses which they have never seen before. The same analogy applies to friendship -- one never makes friends with people whom one has never met or seen before.
For most of us seeing or hearing is generally infrequent. We are not seeing or hearing things all the time. Since we are not occupied with eating all the time, tasting is also less frequent. Tactile sensations however, occur every now and then. They are far more prominent than other sensations. They may be felt even when one is sitting or standing still, or when eating or drinking. So we are always involved with contact, day in and day out. When yogis meditate, they usually meditate more on contact than on any other sense-objects.
The Text says: //Gacchanto va gacchamiti pajanati// -- Know that you are going when you go. When you note the act of walking -- extending legs, raising them up and putting them down, you are conscious of the entire movement connected with the process of walking. That means to say that the knowledge of walking has arisen, in which case let that knowledge remain as it is according to the instruction: //Mute mutamattam bhavissati// -- When you know, let that knowing be. Do not go any further than that. This meditation is on the activities of //vayo//, element of motion, although at times //tejo//, element of heat and //pathavi//, element of hardness, may get automatically involved. But what is to be concentrated upon is //vayo//.
The Text further goes on to say: //Thito va thitomhiti pajanati; nisinno va nisinnomhiti pajanati -- Know that you are standing when you stand. Know that you are sitting when you sit. Here, too, you are being instructed to note the nature of //vayo//.
If you are not satisfied with this method, note the activity of //vayo// by watching the rise and fall of the belly as you are standing, sitting or lying down.
WHY MINDFULNESS ON RESPIRATION IS NOT SUGGESTED
In the ten //anussatis// or recollections, //anapanasati//, concentration on respiration, is included. It is concentration on breathing in and breathing out. Breathing is an act of //vayo//. It may now be asked why I do not make any suggestion to take up the exercise of breathing in and out. In my own opinion, I agree that //anapana// method could lead to the establishment of //vipassana nana//. But it must be noted that Visuddhi Magga puts it in the category of //samatha//, concentration, as distinct from //vipassana//, insight-meditation, when it enumerates the 14 //kayanupassanas//, mindfulness of the physical body as follows:
"The three chapters relating to the four postures, the four factors of knowledge and the four methods of fixing the mind on //dhatu//, primary elements, are said to fall under the category of //vipassana//, insight-meditation....Whereas the two chapters dealing with mindfulness on respiration and fixing the mind on loathsomeness of the physical body are said to fall under the category of //samatha//, concentration."
Thus it has been clearly and unequivocally stated that //anapana// belongs to //samadhi bhavana//, development of concentration, //samadhi kammatthana//, exercises in concentration. Therefore, if we advocate breathing exercises we would certainly be open to criticism that we are teaching not //vipassana// but //samatha kammatthana//, in which case we will be unable to make a rebuttal of the charge made without going against the teaching of Visuddhi Magga. But we allow those who would like to take up mindfulness on respiration to have their wish. We impose no restrictions on them.
Patisambhida Magga and Visuddhi Magga are explicit on the point that, when doing breathing exercises, one must concentrate his mind on the nose without letting the mind follow the course of the stream of air breathed in. The object is to enable the meditator to develop //upacara samadhi//, approximate concentration, and //appana samadhi//, ecstatic concentration, to become enrapt in //jhana//. In the practice of insight-meditation, there is no restriction that directs the meditator to note only one phenomenon at a stretch. But if we instruct the meditator to note all the phenomena of contact that take place in various parts of the body while breathing in and out, we will again be open to the criticism that we are going against the two authorities that I have cited. These are the reasons why we refrain from encouraging meditators to indulge in //anapana// for insight-meditation.
MEDITATION ON ABDOMINAL MOVEMENTS CONFORMS TO CANONICAL INSTRUCTIONS
It has been questioned if instructions to meditate on the rising and falling of the abdomen really conform to the requirements of the Pali Canon. It may be answered in the affirmative on the authority of Sallayatana Vagga Samyutta where it is stated that failure to note the arising and passing away of //nama// and //rupa// that come up at the six sense-doors results in the upsurgence of //kilesa//, while meditating on them brings Nibbana closer through the realization of the Path and its Fruition with the suppression of //kilesa//. The present Malukyaputta which I am discussing is also very clear on this point. I shall give reasons in support of the conformity.
When Satipatthana teaching prescribes observing the four //dhatus//, it is advocating the observance of the apparent phenomena created by the four primary elements. Abdominal movements indicate the working of //vayo// to note which one fixes one's mind on one of the //dhatus// conforming to the requirement of //dhatu manasikara//. I prefer using ordinary language to highly technical Pali terms; and so, instead of saying //vayo dhatu//, I say the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. My employment of the ordinary conversational language agrees with Buddha's preference to simple speech when he gave the advice: //Gacchamiti pajanati//. As the yogi's concentration gets strong with the continued practice of insight-meditation, he will come to realize the nature of the element of motion represented by movements of the abdomen.
On the authority of Satipatthana Sutta and other Suttas in Samyutta Nikaya, we also take it that a meditator should concentrate not only on the four postures usually mentioned in the scriptures but also on other postures or physical behaviour that can be met with in the ordinary course of nature.
If a yogi does not feel satisfied with noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, he can try with meditating on sitting as he sits, or on standing as he stands, or no lying down as he lies down. But we do not insist a yogi to practise //anapana// as we hold that it goes against statements in Visuddhi Magga and Commentaries on Satipatthana Sutta, which speak of insight-meditation after the attainment to the state of //jhana// through noting breathing in and breathing out. But we do not deter anybody from practising //anapana//. Now I shall revert to my original theme.
FAILURE TO MEDITATE ON PHASSA ON TOUCHING
17. Phassam phussa sati muttha, Piyam nimittam manasi karoto. Sarattacitto vedeti, tanca ajjhosa titthati.
17. Having touched //phassa//, tangible object, one loses mindfulness, and getting absorbed in the charms created by it, one feels the onset of desire that tries to imbibe it.
Tactile sensations arise everywhere in the physical body. When a living body touches an inanimate object, such sensations arise. When limbs of the body touch one another, the same thing happens. Those are external sensations of touch. Likewise there are internal sensations which usually pass our notice. For instance, we are unaware of the fact that blood comes into contact with muscular tissues imbedded in the body. Those not used to the practice of //satipatthana// cannot take full note of the external senses of touch, let alone the internal. So when you practise meditation loosely, you are liable to be forgetful of the dhamma although you will be remembering the beautiful when you see beauty. It is human nature to hanker after pleasurable sense-objects; and when they are discovered you forget to note the arising and passing away of the aggregates. At times you may feel repugnant to disagreeable sights you see or disturbing sounds you hear. This also makes you to be forgetful of the dhamma.
The five constituents of pleasure invite //kilesa// for all unmindful persons. Our way of living is one of enjoyment of pleasure. When we sleep on soft beds we are pleased with the comfort it gives. Latest fashions in dress give us a feeling of luxury. Even when we are doing the daily constitutional for health we are prone to get delighted with the thought that it is contributing to our body beautiful. All these delights and pleasures are a product of our surroundings which almost worship the five constituents of the senses. They generate //kilesa//. Nibbana remains far removed from those with a mind of defilements. Hence the following stanza.
18. Tassa vaddhunti vedana, aneka phassasambhava; Abhijjha ca vihesa ca, cittamassupahannati. Evam acinato dukkham, ara nibbana vuccati.
18. A multitude of passions such as covetousness and rage, springing from //phassa//, contact, torments him who takes a firm hold of it, with the consequence that his mind becomes burdened with vexation. Nibbana, therefore, remains far away from him who would carry the load of suffering rather than meditate.
All that have been said about seeing, hearing, etc. apply to touching. What may be emphasised as usual is the fact that bowing to the wishes of //kilesa// one accumulates the mass of suffering which keeps one away from the path to Nibbana.
MEDITATION ON PHASSA BRINGS NIBBANA NEAR
19. Na so rajjati phassesu, phassam phussa patissato; Virattacitto vedeti, tanca najjhosa titthati.
19. Passion remains undeveloped in him who recollects with mindfulness //phassa//, contact, that he has experienced. Thus freed from lust, he refuses to imbibe it.
In the course of meditating on the phenomenon of standing a yogi may feel tired or stuffy or painful or itchy. These are unpleasant sensations called //dukkha vedanas//. When they appear you must concentrate on the source of uncomfortableness and note in your mind the nature of tiredness or pain etc. As this constitutes meditating on //dukkha vedana//, this method is called //vedananupassana//. When you note heat that is generated, you meditate on //tejo//; and when you feel that you are touching a hard and rough surface, you meditate on //pathavi//. At times you may feel that the element of motion gets merged with the element of heat. You note this also and meditate on it. You may note every physical behaviour that occurs. You may bend or stretch your arms and legs. You may throw your head backwards and forwards. You may shut or open your eyes. You may wink. You may indulge in various kinds of movements as you dress, or as you wash your face, or as you take a bath. Even when you are urinating or evacuating your bowels, you must not forget to note the manifestation of //vayo//. With practice you may be able to note even speaking as you speak.
Our injunction to note the rise and fall of the belly is for the benefit of beginners in meditation. If he likes he can take up noting the respiration. But in our experience we have come to know that some who began the practice of breathing in and out endedup with meditating on the rise and fall of the belly, and that they did realize the dhamma. We used to instruct the yogi whose powers of concentration have strengthened to extend his method of meditation to noting all that happens at his six sense-doors.
When //raga// is abandoned through the practice of mindfulness, you will have no desire to grab //photthapha//, tactile sensation, and swallow it up.
20. Yathassa phusato phassam, sevato capi vedanam; Khiyati nopaciyati, evam so caratissato. Evam apacinato dukkham, santike nibbana vuccati.
20. On contact with a tangible object, a yogi just touches it and just gets the feeling of touch without assimilating //phassa//, created by the touch. With him suffering ceases. He should practise meditation in this way; and if he so practises it, he is said to be within sight of Nibbana.
What has been discussed in the foregoing relating to other senses applies in the present case.
NEGATION OF CORRECT METHOD
Among us there are some dissidents who neither practise the dhamma nor accommodate others practising it. They reject the methods relating to meditation saying that as everybody has been aware of his own physical behaviour, it is unnecessary for him to note with mindfulness.
The purpose of meditation is to prevent //kilesa// from arising from the time consciousness occurs in relation to sense-objects that actually come into contact with the sense-base. Meditation on things which have never been seen or heard is excluded. Dissidents, in their attempts to pass strictures on our method of teaching, maintain that noting the rise and fall of the belly is superfluous. This goes against what is prescribed in Malukyaputta Sutta or Maha Satipatthana Sutta. Everybody is aware that he breathes. It would be preposterous to say that he should be made to be unaware of his own breathing.
Those who put forward the proposition that one should not meditate on this physical body or parts of it such as head, limbs, abdomen are going dead against Buddha's teaching. Perhaps they do so because they have never experienced insight knowledge. When you see and note //rupa// reflected by your own body, it perfectly accords with the instruction: //Rupam disva patissato// -- Note //rupa// when you see it. In the same way you must meditate on contact in accordance with the instruction: //Phassam phussa patissato// -- Note contact when you touch. There is nothing in the Pali Canon and their Commentaries to suggest that anyone is to be deterred from noting his physical behaviour. All sense-bases, sense-objects and sense-consciousness originate in the body, and if we are to be prevented from noting them, it will go against the teaching. Those who advocate such ideas are preaching adhamma.
I give below the method of insight-meditation in brief:
Note every time //rupa// and //nama// arise. This will lead you to gaining knowledge about their causes and effects. In the end you will recognize the Three Marks of //anicca//, impermanence, //dukkha//, suffering or unsatisfactoriness, and //anatta//, unsubstantiality. He who practises in this manner can enter Nibbana.
Now I shall give you the task laid down by Buddha regarding meditation on mind-objects that cause mind-consciousness to arise.
* * *
"Ye te Manovinneyya dhamma avinnata avinnatapubba, na ca vijanasi, na ca ta hoti vijeneyyanti, atthi te tanha chando va rago va pemam va."
"How do you understand this, Malukyaputta? Answer me as best you can. There are certain mind-objects, //dhamma//, which you have never apperceived previously, either in the immediate or remote past, or even at the present moment. Neither can you hope to apperceive them in the future. Can such objects arouse desire, lust and affection in you?"
As before Malukyaputta answered this in the negative, and Buddha laid down the task for him to practise insight-meditation. For a summary of what Buddha taught him, please refer to the earlier section entitled "A Brief Work-Programme".
FAILURE TO MEDITATE ON MIND-OBJECT ON THINKING
21. Dhammam natva sati muttha, Piyam nimittam manasi karoto. Sarattacitto vedeti, tanca ajjhosa titthati.
21. Having thought of //dhamma//, mind-object, one loses mindfulness, and getting absorbed in the charms created by it, one feels the onset of desire that tries to imbibe it.
Here the term //dhamma// meaning mind-object, is not used in the //paramattha// or abstract sense. It relates to the six bases of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and heart. It creates the idea of male or female. It embraces the material qualities of life and nutrition. It includes all concepts of humanity or divinity and of animals like cattle, etc. and of things like pots and pans, and of places like houses. All sense-objects, whether real or imaginary, are //dhammas//. When ordinary individuals see things that exist in nature, they recognize them by concepts as trees, forests and mountains. Those accomplished in //sammasana nana//, investigating knowledge, and //udayabbaya nana//, knowledge of arising and dissolution of conditioned things, often see in their mind's eye visions of deities, Arahats and Buddhas, besides seeing real objects in flesh and blood. In whatever way they are seen, the individual who sees them develops attachment or repugnance in accordance with his feelings of agreeableness or disagreeableness. Once these //vedanas// arise, he becomes forgetful of the practice of meditation, virtually assimilating, or ingesting, or imbibing what he sees. Then //kilesa// arises. This is explained in the following stanza.
22. Tassa vaddhunti vedana, aneka dhamma sambhava; Abhijjha ca vihesa ca, cittamassupahannati. Evam acinato dukkham, ara nibbana vuccati.
22. A multitude of passions such as covetousness and rage, springing from //dhamma//, mind-object, torments him who takes a firm hold of it, with the consequence that his mind becomes burdened with vexation. Nibbana, therefore, remains far away from him who would carry the load of suffering rather than meditate.
This shows the darker side of the life of a non-meditator. There is a brighter side for the meditating yogis, and this is given in the following stanza.
23. Na so rajjati dhammesu, dhammam natva patissato; Virattacitto vedeti, tanca najjhosa titthati.
23. Passion remains undeveloped in him who recollects with mindfulness the //dhamma//, mind-object, that he has apperceived. Thus freed from lust, he refuses to imbibe it.
Here //dhammas//, or, in other words, //dhammarammanas//, mind-objects, are not //paramatthas// but //pannattis//. But mind-consciousness is //paramattha//. It comprises thoughts and ideas created by the mind-object. It appears, and disappears the next moment after its appearance. It is //anicca//, impermanence. When a yogi sees an object in his mind and notes it mindfully, it disappears as soon as it has been noted. What actually happens is the disappearance of mind-consciousness that constitutes //nama//. As the observer is intent upon the object, he loses sight of //citta// or //nama// created by it. As he notes it in this manner, no attachment arises in his mind. In other words, mindfulness dispels //raga//, lust or passion. In such circumstances consciousness just takes place. It does not go beyond that. This is in accordance with the statement: //Vinnatam vinnanamatta bhavissati// -- When you know, let knowing be. If one fails to meditate on the mind-object, //vedana//, feeling, arises to incite //kilesa//.
24. Yathassa janato dhammam, sevato capi vedanam; Khiyati nopaciyatam, evam so caratissato. Evam apacinato dukkham, santiko nibbana vuccati.
24. Thinking of a mind-object, a yogi just knows it and just feels that he knows it, without assimilating //dhamma// created by it. With him suffering ceases. He should practise meditation in this way; and if he so practises it, he is said to be within sight of Nibbana.
An idea must be noted as it is formed so that inclination to //kilesa// can have no opportunity to arise. When the round of //kilesa// ceases, other rounds of kamma-actions and action-results also cease; and that particular moment of cessation of all kinds of defilements rewards the meditator with peaceful bliss; and that moment is the moment of //tadanga nibbana//.
Be it noted that Nibbana is within easy reach of everyone who practises insight-meditation. Conversely, it remains aloof from a non-meditator.
* * *
Having uttered the 24 stanzas, Buddha concluded saying;
"Imassa kho Malukyaputta maya samkhittena bhasitassa evam vittharena attho datthabbo."
"I have, Malukyaputta, given you a very succinct account of the method of noting the sense-objects, and you must try to understand the wider meaning of it according to the 24 gathas that have now been explained."
Rejoicing in what Buddha taught, Malukyaputta expressed his satisfaction, paid his homage to the Blessed One and departed. Then he retired to a place of solitude, applied himself with mindfulness, zeal and singleness of purpose to the practice of meditation, and, not long after, enjoyed the fruits of the sanctity of //Brahmacariya// (noble conduct), having gained insight on the spot. Now he had come face to face with Truth. For him no new becoming could arise. He had abided in the holiness of the Eightfold Noble Path, having done all there was to be done, leaving nothing undone. And all this he knew. Now our Malukyaputta had become an Arahat.
Once when Buddha was in Savatthi for his daily round for alms, he was approached by a monk by the name of Bahiya Daruciriya who insisted that the Enlightened One prescribe for him a brief religious instruction. Buddha, therefore, advised him to note seeing just as he saw, hearing just as he heard, knowing just as he knew, and thinking just as he thought in relation to sense-objects he encountered. These are his words:
"Ditthe ditthamattam bhavissati; sute sutamattam bhavissati; mute mutamattam bhavissati, vinnate vinnanamattam bhavissati."
In this Malukyaputta Sutta, the instructions are the same. And so this method of vipassana to note with mindfulness every time the phenomena of sight, sound, odour, taste, touch and consciousness occur is far-reaching although very brief. For nearly forty years since 1300 B.E. (c. 1938 A.D.) I have been preaching this sermon for the enlightenment of thousands of devotees relating to the subjects of the Noble Path and its Fruition and of //paccavekkhana nana//, knowledge on self-examination. I believe many among them have by now come to realize knowledge that can lead them to the Path and its Fruition.
Now I shall wind up this discourse with a wish and a prayer, sharing merits we have performed in relation to charity, morality and mental development to our parents, relatives and well-wishers present here, to all humanity, to all devas and to all sentient beings in the whole universe. May they rejoice in these //kusala// wholesome actions, and gain happiness both in mind and in body!
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
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