On one occasion, after His Enlightenment, the Buddha was
dwelling at the foot of a banyan tree by the bank of the
Neranjana River. There the following thought arose in
“This is the only way that leads to the attainment of
purity, to the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, to
the end of pain and grief, to the entering of the right
path and to the realization of Nibbana: that way is the
Four Foundations of Mindfulness”.
Thereupon, Brahma Sahampati, understanding in his own
mind the Buddha’s thought, vanished from the Brahma
realm and appeared before the Buddha:
“All the Blessed Ones who have seen the cessation of
birth and the overcoming of birth, who have paved the
supreme way in the past, have crossed over the ocean of
suffering by this way. All those in the future will also
cross over by this way. And that Blessed One in the
present time has crossed over by this path. This path is
the Four Foundation of Mindfulness.”
For forty five years following His Enlightenment until
His passing away, the Buddha’s sole objective was to
teach trainable beings how to attain the three
essentials of Dhamma: refraining from all evil;
cultivating good; and purifying the mind.
Four Noble Truths
The Buddha taught that in order to purify the mind we
must contemplate the Four Noble Truths, which are
suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of
suffering and the way leading to the cessation of
Once the Four Noble Truths have been thoroughly
realised, our minds will be purified and enlightened and
we will attain the extinction of suffering, Nibbana.
The way to eradicate suffering or purify the mind is to
practice vipassana, or insight, meditation. This is the
only way to free people from rebirth and to attain the
ultimate truth of Nibbana.Vipassana meditation is not a
technique for closing the eyes and seeing magnificent
sights or attaining psychic powers. It is the study of
life and how to eradicate suffering from one’s own life.
It also solves the complex problems of life and leads to
perception of the truth. The way to practice this is to
look into one’s own life, to notice the movements of
body and mind, to notice whether there are wholesome or
unwholesome thoughts in the mind.
The more we reflect on our life and the more we learn
about our problems, the more can we reach a solution
totally and clearly by ourselves, within our own minds.
We will realise that a life that is void of mindfulness
and follows the stream of accumulated habits is vastly
different from a life guided by mindfulness.
Vipassana meditation will lead us from the world of
darkness and unskilful habits and free us from the
tyranny of lack of mindfulness, in which, through
ignorance, we are imprisoned.
From the moment we begin to practice mindfulness it is
as if a candle were to be lit in our lives, a candle
that shines in our lives at all times.
We often talk about mindfulness and wisdom, and we do
utilise wisdom, but rarely do we use our mindfulness,
even though it can bring immeasurable benefits to our
Once we begin practicing vipassana meditation, this
small candle starts to grow brighter and brighter, until
we are able to see the truths that had previously been
Exhortation to practice
Don’t neglect your work, the work of meditation. There
are five meditation objects: kesa hair of the head; loma
hair of the body; nakha nails; dantha teeth; taco skin.
These are tools for calming the mind. Use them for
solving problems. If you don’t have a meditation object
you will not be able to solve problems, you will find it
hard to concentrate the mind. Note ‘standing” five
times, reflecting only on “kesa”, down to the feet,
standing, then to the navel, then stop breathing. Then
note “thus” up to the head. You can know the state of
your mind. When you see another person walking towards
you, you can tell immediately whether he or she is good
or bad. But people don’t study this. They study
everything else; but throw out the essential work of
Buddhist practice, they throw out the meditation, that’s
why they can’t solve problems and that is why the world
is so confused and agitated.
If you can practice meditation, you note standing, and
when you see someone walking towards you smiling, you
can immediately sense their real state of mind. They’re
smiling, but they’re coming to claim a debt or to borrow
some money. Even friends can cheat each other.
Meditation can solve social problems.It is the Four
Foundations of Mindfulness. The Buddha taught that when
you see a person walking towards you mindfulness will
tell you if they should be avoided. This is one
benefit.The second, secondary benefit is that meditation
can solve problems. How does meditation solve problems?
It improves the mind. Where is the mind? The mind is at
the six sense doors. We have these three channels of
activity: the body, the speech and the mind. These are
the wells of skill and unskill. The six sense bases are
the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. These are the
both places of heaven and hell, the birth places of mind
and body, mental states, and defilements such as greed
hatred and delusion. Solve problems here.When the eye
sees someone who makes us angry, we set up mindfulness
at the eye. Our eye is then rich, it is controlled
(sila). Are you angry? Put anger at the solar plexus,
breathe deeply and slowly. A person who is angry
breathes quickly. One who breathes deeply will not be
angry. This is how we solve the immediate problems with
elementary meditation. When you breath deeply, noting
“anger, anger,” wisdom will arise in you and you will be
able to solve the problem. Why do you waste your time
and mental energy on anger? It is not what you’re meant
to do. That is the task of Buddhist practice.
to be continued
(Courtesy - Advantages of
Chanting and how to Practice Vipassana Meditation.)